Information Strategy in Practice

Sue Henczel (Caval Collaborative Solutions, Bundoora, Australia)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




Henczel, S. (2004), "Information Strategy in Practice", Library Management, Vol. 25 No. 6/7, pp. 321-321.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Much of a library manager's focus these days is to align the work of the library with the objectives of the organization. This is necessary to justify budgets, staffing and the other forms of support that enable the library to continue providing its products and services to its clients. Understanding how to manage information strategically means more than just providing what our clients say they need – it requires the development of compatible and complementary methodologies that enable information provision, access, storage and use to be prioritised in accordance with its level of strategic importance.

Information Strategy in Practice picks up where edition 2 of Elizabeth Orna's Practical Information Policies left off by providing a solid framework for the strategic application of the information management practices she recommends. In order to fully utilize the underlying philosophies recommended in her earlier texts, Orna incorporates sections from them in this book and builds on them with examples, anecdotes and practical advice from her consultancy experiences. She then uses them as the foundation for her comprehensive accounts of the processes required to develop organizational information policies and strategies.

In a preliminary section called “Before webegin …” Orna defines the key concepts presented in her book – information, knowledge, information management, knowledge management, information strategy, etc. to ensure that the reader shares her understanding of the terminology. She then provides a comprehensive introduction (Chapter 1) that not only explains her rationale for writing the book but also, and more importantly, a section that examines the role of information within an organization and the role an information policy and strategy can play in enabling an organization to achieve its objectives. She includes a risk analysis that covers a multitude of scenarios, as well as a range of benefits that such policies and strategies can deliver.

Chapter 2 examines organizational objectives and matches them with knowledge requirements and the underlying information required to maintain that knowledge. It also looks at organizational structure and other characteristics that impact on how information is used and valued.

The information audit process is presented as the foundation of strategic information management. Chapters 3‐5 take the reader through the information audit process, from the initial analysis of the information implications of organizational objectives through to using the findings of the audit to develop an information policy. Chapter 6 describes the development and use of an information strategy (where to start, resources, enabling conditions and benefits).

Thinking allowed! Ideas and arguments (Chapter 7) provides supporting arguments, ideas and stories that support the concepts and processes in the earlier part of the book. This section alone is worth reading for its candid approach to such topics as the KM/IM relationship, information value and organizational change.

This book is interspersed with sections called Practical Insights that really do provide “practical insights” and with stories that illustrate the processes using real‐life experiences, thus fulfilling its objective of meeting the needs of information management students, practising information managers and those outside the information management profession but who are responsible for related activities.

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