How organizations measure and value their information assets is becoming a major differentiator for business executives, according to discussions between industry thought leaders at two recent AIIM Executive Leadership Council (ELC) summits.
Executives from organizations such as Gartner, Accenture and Shell, as well as a number of vendors and technology suppliers in North America and Europe, were involved in the ELC summits.
“There is a growing gap between the traditional ways we value organizations, in terms of the tangible and intangible assets reported in financial statements and the value the market puts on organizations,” said John Mancini, chief evangelist, AIIM. “The eye-watering amounts that have been paid for some companies demonstrate our inability to properly measure and value the information assets of an organization.”
According to Doug Laney, Gartner VP and distinguished analyst who presented at the European ELC, in 1975, on average the tangible assets of a corporation represented 83 percent of its value. Today that number is 20 percent. As a result, more than half of merger and acquisition exchanges can’t be accounted for.
During the summit members were asked two key questions: if “information” is the currency of the Digital Age, why don’t organizations manage their information assets with the same seriousness as their financial assets, their physical assets, and their human assets? Why is “Infonomics” such a difficult concept for organizations to grasp?
“We’re systematically undervaluing the investments that companies make in processes to optimize information, protect it, and utilize it to create customer value,” continued Mancini.
“Information will be simultaneously worthless to one person and valuable to another. What is important is how a company uses information,” said attendee Rich Howarth of IBM.
Randy Krotowski, VP and CIO emeritus at Caterpillar said, “Measurement is critical. When you invest based on your belief in the importance of something, you don’t achieve anything. Value is contextual. Value can be calculated. You can calculate the value of anything.”
“Although IP is increasingly becoming a larger proportion of a company’s balance sheet, until we have an effective measurement methodology for valuing data, information, content and knowledge, don’t expect to find ‘information assets’ on the balance sheet anytime soon,” warned Mancini. “We need standard models to measure information value, but you can’t measure what you don’t control and measuring the value of information can only be done in the context of how it is used.”
Helping to define and measure the value of information will be a priority for AIIM as industry discussion around infonomics continues over the coming months and years. Randy Krotowski commented, “AIIM is uniquely positioned to help IM leaders deliver outcomes important to their businesses … and prepare them for a more information-intensive future.”
The AIIM ELC is the principal think tank for global Enterprise Content Management (ECM), bringing together the industry’s top thinkers, vendors, end users and industry analysts twice a year to articulate the impact that new technologies will have on the workplace, and define specific use cases for how the technologies can transform organizations and ways of work.
The ELC Infonomics summits took place in North America and Europe in June 2016.