Information management is a highly important component of knowledge-oriented businesses in the 21st century. Information management allows organizations to be more efficient by sharing the information throughout the company. This prompts an organization to act as a team, in which every member has access to the knowledge base of others. Information management is rarely problem-free, however. Typical challenges include collecting the information, making it available, and ensuring that it is used.
Without collecting information, it is impossible to share it. Information can be collected in various ways. In retail businesses, sales figures from individual stores are reported back to the corporate headquarters, which can share this information with all the branches. This can help the individual retail outlets to understand trends in consumer demand. In the professional services industry, it is common for employees to fill out questionnaires about the work they perform and their clients' needs. What is important is to ensure that the data being collected is both relevant and accurate.
Making information available is a challenge that often causes difficulties for organizations. It is one thing to collect information but quite another to make it widely available. One technique is by increasing personal communication through the use of interdepartmental teams. This encourages people to share their personal knowledge with others. Another method for sharing information is through technology. Databases can provide information to people across an organization. This makes it possible for an international company to access details about markets around the world. Databases, however, involve significant financial investment in order to be successful.
If information is successfully collected and made available, the only remaining challenge is making sure it is accessed and put to use. In order to ensure that information is accessed, it is best to develop information-sharing techniques that are simple and easy to use. A database, for example, should be user-friendly. In order to ensure that information is actually used, it is important to show employees that there are tangible benefits to using the available information.