Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Infonomics and Using Information as a Competitive Advantage

Do you value and treat your enterprise information like it is a strategic asset?  Do you view your information logistics system (including your enterprise mobility system) as a competitive differentiator?  Enterprise mobility is more than just a convenience for people on the move.  It is about how to use information to optimize productivity and achieve competitive advantages.  How can the effective use of mobilized information change and improve your business?

I have shared some of this article before, but I believe it is important enough to review.  In an insightful article by Gartner Inc.'s Douglas Laney, titled Infonomics: The Practice of Information Economics, the value of company information is explored.  I read this article with great interest and interpreted it in the context of enterprise mobility.

Here is Laney's description of Infonomics, "When considering how to put information to work for your organization, it’s important to go beyond thinking and talking about information as an asset, to actually valuing and treating it as one. This is the basis of the new theory and emerging discipline of Infonomics which provides organizations a foundation and methods for quantifying information asset value and formal information asset management practices."

In my mobile strategy workshops, I spend time with my clients exploring the value of "real-time" information to a company and the role enterprise mobility plays in it.  Laney's article takes it to the next level by treating it as a discipline.

Here is another excerpt from Laney, "Infonomics posits that information should be considered a new asset class in that it has measurable economic value and other properties that qualify it to be accounted for and administered as any other recognized type of asset—and that there are significant strategic, operational and financial reasons for doing so."

If the right information can be available to a mobile worker, on the right device, at the right time, in the right amount so that "right" decisions and actions can be made, then that is a huge benefit!

Let me add some context, if you have a mobile workforce in the field and you know the following real-time information:
  • Location
  • Job status
  • Next job site
  • Skills and qualifications
  • Inventory
  • Equipment
  • Costs (hourly wage)
...then you can make many important decisions as to how you can optimally schedule and utilize your workforce.  Much of this can be automated using business analytics, and artificial machine learning as well.  In contrast, if you don't have real-time knowledge of the points listed above, you cannot.  There are significant competitive values to this real-time information.  Laney's article explores how you can measure that value.

Once you have placed a value on real-time information, then you can determine an ROI for developing and implementing a system that supports the use of real-time information (and mobilizing it).  I see this a lot when discussing mobile workforce scheduling solutions.  Many organizations simply do not have the IT systems in place that can support real-time scheduling based on real-time information (location, job status, etc.).  This is a limitation.  This prevents them from transforming their company into a real-time enterprise and effectively competing with companies that are.


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Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.