Information Strategy in Practice

Susan Childs (Research Fellow, Information‐Society Research Community, School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, Northumbria University, UK)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 December 2005




Childs, S. (2005), "Information Strategy in Practice", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 194-195.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This review will start, as Elizabeth Orna's book does, with some definitions – in her own words.

“An ‘organizational information policy’ is founded on an organization's overall objectives, and the priorities within them, and defines, at a general level: The objectives of information use in the organization, and the priorities among them; What ‘information’ means in the context of what the organization is in business for; The principles on which it will manage information; Principles for the use of human resources in managing information; Principles for the use of technology to support information management; The principles it will apply in relation to establishing the cost‐effectiveness of information and knowledge. An information policy is a dynamic tool which can be used: As the basis for developing an organizational information strategy … Information strategy is the detailed expression of information policy in terms of objectives, targets, and actions to achieve hem, for a defined period ahead. Information strategy provides the framework for the management of information” (p. 10).

The aim of this book is to provide a short practical text for three main audiences: students of information management and related IT subjects; professionals whose job has some information management component; managers, without an information management background, who have some responsibility for information management activities in their organisation. It is based on Elizabeth's 1999 book Practical Information Policies – the second edition of her seminal work – which is also published by Gower. I found that work immensely helpful in my own activities, and feel that this new book will also be immensely helpful to its intended audiences.

The book is based on an actual information audit that Elizabeth conducted so it provides “actual examples of doing the job in real life” (p. 6). The majority of the Chapters (2 to 6) comprise the “how to” of conducting an information audit and producing an information policy and information strategy, i.e.: Establishing the ground; Information auditing: from initial analysis to doing the audit; Information auditing: interpreting and presenting the findings; From information audit to information policy; Developing and using an information strategy. It should be noted that these chapters are copied from Elizabeth's 1999 book, although updated with postscripts entitled “Practical Insights”. Chapter 7 discusses the ideas underlying organisational information policies and strategies, and the sections of the chapter comprise: integrating information, technology, and human interactions; the real value organizations get from information; applying knowledge and information to meet and initiate change; how KM and IM are related, and why we need both. The final Chapter (8) gives practical advice on dealing with problems that may be encountered when producing an information strategy.

The main benefit of this book lies in the word “practical”. From her wide experience, Elizabeth provides the reader with a simply written, logically constructed, step‐by‐step, “how to” guide with many down‐to‐earth tips and methods. References to further literature is provided at the end of each chapter and each practical insight. Elizabeth is an expert in this field, and I therefore would certainly recommend this book to students, practitioners, libraries and information organisations (for their benchbook collections). However, £35 pounds for a 163‐page paperback is a bit pricey. This may put it out of the reach of many students, and individual practitioners who already have a copy of Elizabeth's ‘Practical information policies’ (second edition, 1999) should check to see if the additional, up‐dated material in this later book warrants them making this additional purchase.

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