You can’t build a better business without better information.
With rare exception, the information management systems of most companies do little to contribute to their success.
At best they are not getting in the way. Most of the time, they are considerably more destructive than that.
A better business is one that knows where it’s going. And is built to get there.
In that outlook it is not surprised by its success. A trait that becomes self fulfilling.
Here are five foundations to creating durable information systems that will outlive their founders:
- Strategy. Well designed systems are built to fulfill their company’s purpose. Only when you have defined that can you establish the architecture that will support the journey.
- Scalability. Start with a numbering protocol that supports enough digits. Re-engineering platforms in response to success is expensive, distracting and sometimes impossible. Companies as sophisticated as American Express have made this mistake.
- Sensitivity. Particularly to the daily needs of the staff that use it. Systems that demand consistent data input but provide no immediate return to the people responsible for its entry, fail prior to installation. Any system must benefit every user.
- Flexibility. We absorb information individually. Systems that treat us as two dimensional limit the long-term growth of a business by minimizing the involvement of those who see the business on three planes.
- Clarity. Users have little time for and less interest in training. A system built on consistent interface protocols shortens adoption timelines and increases exploration and ultimately use.
Information is the compass that guides a company. Without it your final destination is a guess.
Which makes the journey more exciting.
But more prone to icebergs.