We are often engaged by our clients to help them develop a strategy for managing their information.
It should go without saying that understanding the information requirements means understanding the business.
Being a consultant does not mean having a cursory conversation and then magically producing a boilerplate strategy out of your back pocket.
Being a good consultant means…well, it means consulting, and then applying your knowledge in the unique context of the organisation you’re working with.
Understanding this context means spending time talking to people, not only those at the top with the ‘vision’ but also spending time with those on the ‘frontline’ who deal with the day to day and who make the organisation tick. These are often the ones who suffer the most from poor information management, wasting time looking for the information they need, redoing work or relying on out of date or inaccurate information.
Gaining this overview right across the business – understanding how it works and the constituent entities that make up the domain (to go all information architecture speak) gives valuable insight and often gives us a better view of the enterprise than those within it.
Only by doing this can you then understand the business, how information management can help and what the strategy should be.
An invaluable by-product of the time spent talking to people is that you have started one of the crucial aspects of the strategy implementation before it is even written – change management. Talking to people means that you have already started engagement and staff will be more willing to accept change and act on it if they feel their concerns and issues have been listened to and are being addressed.
It really is good to talk.