Why is consumer information consumption kicking our ass?

Chances are you found the former a lot easier, and were probably able to do it with your new slate, tablet, 1.5GB superphone or what have you, at home or sipping your flat white in the coffee bar between meetings.

The latter may have involved either trying to find your way past a corporate brick wall or two, having to negotiate multiple, non-integrated systems, work with a green screen or two – and would have been a lot less fun and empowering.

Trivial comparison? Not according to ICT industry marketing wise man Geoffrey Moore and his Chasm Group, who’ve been working with information management specialists on how to see how we in the industry can get away from so-called ‘systems of record’ to ‘systems of engagement’.

You may be interested, in fact, in pursuing that thread at the home page of an organisation called AIIM, the self-styled community that provides education, research, and best practices to help organisations find, control, and optimise their information: Moore’s thoughts can be found here.

"Like most enterprises, you are probably finding that the volume of data you have to manage, protect and use is growing but finding the way we have been storing, managing and using it is no longer sustainable," Andrew Ewing, who looks after internal and external alliances at HP Software and who is also a former Chair of AIIM’s European Advisory Trade Member Council, told CBR. "At the same time, accurate, up-to-the-second insight is more important than ever to make better decisions, capitalise on opportunities and anticipate needs."

Ewing and at least some other veterans of the information management space think the way to solve Moore’s challenge – to make it as easy (security of course being taken into consideration) for us to work with our company’s information assets as it is for us to work with all the data that’s crowding in on us in the public, consumer space – is to move to what HP is trying to position as the move to an application (or data) centric approach, towards an infrastructure-led approach to managing all corporate information – or the "industrialisation of our governance and regulatory compliance approaches".

Such a shift – if it true and happening, he acknowledges, will be largely driven by a shift from data to ‘information centric’ behaviour and changes in the utility and consumption of that information.

We have to say right here that a lot of this story will seem very familiar to CIOs who’ve been battered around the ears for years about data warehousing, CRM, BI, etc.

If you see anything revolutionary you’ve never heard before in this statement from Ewing, you’re probably a newbie: "Your data is your enterprise. Know what you have. Store and move it more efficiently. And gain more control for greater value and compliance. Extract insight for better business decisions…" You get the picture.

But that doesn’t mean that what either Moore or Ewing and AIIM are saying is invalid. In fact, the reality is that I or you or your teenage son can find more out about their environment with their iPhone in 10 minutes flat than your CEO can probably find out from you as CIO or the CFO in a day.

Why? Think of ERP, BI, decision support, CRM – all great things that all pushed the good stuff into silos. In many ways, as Ewing says, "We’ve ended up knowing really, really well what we already know – classic rear-view mirror driving. What’s happened to the analytics and prediction side of things?"

Personally, I’m less convinced about the industrialisation of governance and more impassioned about consumer driven information consumption models.

I think there’s a revolution going on out there – and I am beginning to wonder if IT hasn’t been invited to the party.

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