The asset of information is generated by every organisation on a continuous basis, yet in many cases this asset is not being used to its full potential and instead is simply filed away and forgotten, or even disregarded completely. The ability of an organisation to pull all of its information together and use it properly as part of a corporate information strategy can deliver significantly improved results in the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations.

Over recent years many new technologies have been deployed in an effort to better understand, manipulate, store, and retrieve information - particularly in the areas of Content Management and Business Intelligence. Much of this investment has been necessary in order to comply with growing regulation and legislation requirements. As a result many companies now find that they have all the necessary tools in place to implement a corporate information strategy and now need to re-align processes to make the best use of their information.

An organisation cannot benefit from the data it holds if it cannot extract anything useful from it. Pursuing a corporate information strategy can only benefit a company, as it provides a way of understanding what is happening throughout the business and, in a world where information is power, delivers an undeniable form of competitive advantage.

Butler Group's Report on Exploiting Corporate Information Assets makes the following points and recommendations:

* It is essential that organisations recognise information as a valuable asset. Information has value, is measurable, and can be utilised like any other asset to drive the growth and productivity of an organisation.

* The pursuit of an effective information strategy is a low-cost endeavour as many organisations already have the necessary technology in place. The most important element in the success of a corporate information strategy is that employees understand how to use these systems to work more intelligently. Improvements in the way that people interact with and use information can be made throughout an organisation. Numerous minor improvements to the way in which people operate can deliver benefits that are felt across the board and, when done correctly, the combined gains can far outweigh the effects of each individual change.

* For an information strategy to be successfully implemented it must be driven and championed by the CIO. A successful information strategy relies on data being drawn from numerous different points throughout an organisation, and C-level commitment is required to ensure that all elements of the business make data readily available.

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