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Information Orientation: People, Technology and the Bottom Line

Excellence at investing in and deploying IT isn't sufficient to achieve superior business performance: companies must also excel at collecting, organizing and maintaining information, and at getting their people to embrace the right behaviors and values for working with information.

In this article, the co-authors present the results of a two-and-a-half-year international research project led by the Institute for Management Development. They show that senior managers view strong IT practices, competent management of information, and good information behaviors as components of one higher-level idea -- "Information Orientation" or "IO" -- which measures a company's capabilities to effectively manage and use information. IO is also a predictor of business performance.

The authors compare two retail banks to illustrate the differences between high- and low- IO companies. Among the guidelines:

-- Focus your best IT resources on what makes you distinctive.

-- Companies should actively manage all phases of the information life cycle, from identifying new information to processing and maintaining it.

-- Managers and employees must develop an explicit, focused view of the information necessary to run the business.

-- Do not compromise on information integrity. Employees must use information in an ethical and appropriate way.

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