The technology for managing information has evolved almost as quickly as information itself. Now, we can digitise information to speed-up businesses processes, collect and organise valuable details about our customers and rapidly retrieve information from different sources. And we can do all these things at the click of a mouse. There’s no doubt that we live in the age of information. But are businesses finding and hiring people whose talents and abilities will make managing information a board-level issue? Or, perhaps more importantly, do they know what the profile of the information leader of the future should be?
Tomorrow’s information professional
Our latest research completed in conjunction with PwC explores how enterprise-level organisations (those with over 2,500 employees) manage information risk. As part of the research we asked businesses what skills they thougt the information management profession would need in the future. The responses indicate that in both Europe and North America, organisations see the information professional of the future as someone with strong risk and technical skills. It’s also clear that a background in analytics and records management are also prized.
Interestingly, there is less focus on leadership and communications skills. This points to an important disconnect as well as an opportunity for businesses to promote change. If information managers are equipped with leadership skills, they will be better placed to ensure their organisations not only have the right technology and systems in place, but that everyone in the organisation understands the risks connected to information and its potential value. Agreeing information policy does not ensure that those guidelines will be followed. That takes a different and equally valuable set of skills. What’s more, as information becomes increasingly important to businesses, information managers need to be able to communicate the potential impact of information risk and argue for continued investment in maximising the value of information. While information professionals will need skills in data security and analytics, they will also need communications and leadership skills in order to keep pace with the need to promote a culture of information responsibility.