The amount of information modern businesses collect and distribute can be overwhelming. Even for smaller businesses, poor planning can have a negative impact on efficiency and scalability. By creating a solid small business information management strategy ahead of time, organizations can improve productivity and profits on a daily basis. Here are some tips for building such a strategy.
- Information architecture should be scalable; by building a strict architecture, management over the long term becomes easier. Such a system will take more time to develop, but should lead to increased efficiency.
- Small businesses often have limited resources; also, they often have less information to manage compared to large corporations. They should choose tools appropriately. Enterprise-level content management systems and similar tools will likely not be cost-efficient, especially when maintenance is considered.
- Decision making tools, such as flowcharts, can help people react to situations without the interference of judgment and emotion. Take the time to develop these tools if they would be beneficial to your workflow.
- A formal process for documenting new business information and categorizing it will improve retrieval. Such a process should be built upon a solid architecture. Spend a bit of time researching metadata and consider how to categorize your information so that you can generate accurate reports to ease management.
- Information security policies should be set in place at the outset. Limiting the availability of information to those who need it can reduce long-term management requirements. Key issues are securing information that is only appropriate for certain audiences, limiting the ability to alter information to only approved individuals or groups, and limiting information loss.
- Archiving and other preservation concerns should be addressed by the architecture and tools, and enhanced by writing policies and procedures. Automating the archiving of documents builds additional safety into the overall information management schema.
- A small business can often model larger organizations; however, they should watch for architecture elements that will be inefficient and unnecessary considering the scale of their day-to-day operations and overall information needs.
Remember, the overall goal is to provide information to those that need it in a timely and efficient manner. The information management process should be as automated as possible so that your small business can operate more profitably.