Finding out what information your organisation holds is an important step in understanding and managing it.
The information, and the systems that support it, have most likely grown organically over a number years, and usually without an overarching strategy, or information architecture to guide this growth. The result of this undirected approach is usually a loss of oversight as to what information you actually have, which can easily lead to duplicated, fragmented, redundant, insecure and unmanageable information.
An information and/or system inventory can show you what information you have and how it is used, and reveal the relationships between information collections and systems. It will describe the ‘As Is’ situation and deliver a high level overview of content, its management and use.
An inventory is an essential step towards developing an information architecture, identifying and managing information risk, and supporting your organisation’s information assurance agenda.
It also has many other advantages as a standalone exercise:
- Financial: redundant hardware and software can be identified and thus costs reduced.
- IT: hardware and software can be rationalised resulting in reduced administration.
- Compliance: compliance issues and risks can be discovered.
- Procurement: informed decisions can be made about purchases based on what exits.
- Sales: poor information can be ignored and good information capitalised on.
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