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Managing Information Resources. Chapter 7 Information Systems Management In Practice 6E McNurlin & Sprague. PowerPoints prepared by Michael Matthew Visiting Lecturer, GACC, Macquarie University – Sydney Australia. Chapter 7.

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managing information resources

Managing Information Resources

Chapter 7

Information Systems Management In Practice 6E

McNurlin & Sprague

PowerPoints prepared by Michael Matthew

Visiting Lecturer, GACC, Macquarie University – Sydney Australia

chapter 7
Chapter 7
  • This chapter / lecture explores the management of data, information, and knowledge
  • It begins by identifying some problems in managing data, and then surveys the evolution of database management systems, including the next-generation systems
  • It explores the various types of information that companies need to manage as they treat information as an organizational resource
  • It concludes by discussing one of the most important issues facing companies today: how to manage knowledge
  • Case examples include Monsanto, Owens & Minor, HICSS Personal Proceedings, Tapiola Insurance Group, Tennessee Valley Authority, Eastman Chemical Company and Groove Networks
today s lecture
Today’s Lecture
  • Introduction
  • Managing Data
    • The Three-Level Database Model
    • Four Data Models
    • Getting Corporate Data into Shape
  • Managing Information
    • Four Types of Information
    • Data Warehouses
    • Document Management
    • Content Management
  • “Managing information resources” initially meant managing data, first in files, then in corporate databases which were:
    • Well structured
    • Carefully defined, and
    • Controlled by IS department
  • Next = expanded to include “information” (data with meaning)
  • Also = much talk of managing knowledge
  • With the emergence of the Internet, talk has now turned to managing content:
    • Text, graphics, sound, video and animation
  • Covered in this chapter and chapter 13
introduction cont
Introduction cont.
  • Data vs. Information vs. Knowledge
    • Data: facts devoid of meaning or intent
    • Information: data in context
    • Knowledge: information with direction or intent
  • As the breadth of the kinds of information resources has expanded, so has the job of managing them. The job may not start in the IS department but it invariably ends up there
    • PCs users used ‘alone’
      • Needed to share files
      • Version control, back-up etc.
    • Web sites / content
      • Initially created their own
      • Need for recovery, version control
      • Corporate consistency
    • IS to the ‘rescue’
      • Management procedures
      • Discipline
introduction cont6
Introduction cont.
  • Corporate databases are still a (the?) major IS department responsibility
    • Sometimes housed in a variety of database models
    • Production databases – transaction
    • Data warehouses
    • CRM
  • Information in the form of documents (electronic or paper) and Web content has exploded the size of databases organizations now manage
  • Knowledge management is becoming a key to exploiting “intellectual assets”
  • Information resources need to be well managed as information becomes an important strategic resource
managing data
Managing Data
  • Database management systems are the main tool for managing computerized corporate data
  • They have been around since the 1960s and are based on two major principles:
    • A three- level conceptual model and
    • Several alternative ‘data models’ for organizing the data
managing data the three level database model
Managing Data:The Three-Level Database Model

See Figure 7-1

  • Level 1 - The external, conceptual, or local level, containing the various “user views” of the corporate data that each application program uses
    • Not concerned with how the data will be physically stored or what data is used by other applications
  • Level 2 - The logical or “enterprise data” level
    • ‘Technical’ (human) view of the database = under control of the DBAs
  • Level 3 - The physical or storage level, specifying the way the data is physically stored
    • End user not concerned with all these ‘pointers and flags’ (how the data is physically organized) = they are for use by the DBMS
the three level database model advantages
The Three-Level Database Model: Advantages
  • Level 2 absorbs changes made at Level 3 such as using a new physical storage device
    • Individual application programs in Level 1 do not need to be changed when the physical layer changes
  • Data only needs to be stored once in Level 2, and different programs can draw on it and vary the relationships among the data
managing data four data models
Managing Data:Four Data Models

The second major concept in database management is alternate ways to define relationships among data

  • Hierarchical model: structures data so that each element is subordinate to another in a strict hierarchical manner
    • Parent, child etc.
  • Network model: allows each data item to have more than one parent,
    • Relationships stated by pointers stored with the data

Managing Data:Four Data Modelscont.

  • Relational model: where the data is stored in tables.
    • Eight relational operations can be performed on this data
      • Select, Project, Join, Product, Intersection, Difference, Union, Division
      • Microsoft Access
  • Relational systems are not as efficient as hierarchical or network database systems, but because relational systems allow people to create relationships among data on the fly, they are much more flexible
  • First used to handle end user queries – they are now widely used in high-volume transaction systems with huge files
  • Hence, they have become the database technology of choice in today’s systems
    • Also = largely due to decrease in costs of technology: processing and disk storage

Managing Data:Four Data Models cont.

  • Object model: can be used to store any type of data, whether a:
    • Traditional name or address,
    • An entire spreadsheet,
    • A video clip,
    • A voice annotation,
    • A photograph, or
    • A segment of music
  • The tenets of objects have become increasingly important in the world of computing
    • E.g. Web Services because the XML modules utilize object principles
  • Typical, yet complex database applications that may require objects:
    • CAD for a large office building
    • Large retail chains record every product code scanned
    • Insurance policy files e.g. claim forms, images, video etc.
managing data four data models cont
Managing Data:Four Data Models cont.
  • Object models retain traditional DBMS features including:
    • End user tools
    • High level Query languages
    • Concurrency control
    • Recovery
    • Ability to handle huge amounts of data
  • Include two other major concepts
    • Object management
      • Management of complex kinds of data such as multimedia and procedures
    • Knowledge management
      • Management of large numbers of complex rules for reasoning and maintaining integrity constraints between data
managing data four data models cont15
Managing Data:Four Data Models cont.
  • Finally, security is of major importance in today’s DBMSs
    • Problem = compounded by distributed, heterogeneous Internet-linked databases
  • Companies may want to permit access to some portions of their databases whilst restricting other portions
    • This selective accessibility requires reliably authenticating ‘users’
  • Unless security and integrity are strictly enforced, users will not be able to (fully) trust the systems
managing data16
Managing Data

Getting Corporate Data into Shape

getting corporate data into shape
Getting Corporate Data into Shape
  • In the midst of this growing richness of data and information, companies are still struggling to get their internal alphanumeric data under control
  • The installation of company-wide software packages such as SAP, enterprise data warehouses, and intranets has once again brought to the fore the problems of “dirty data”
    • Data from different databases that has:
      • Different names
      • Uses different time frames, or
      • That otherwise does not match
  • Attempts to get under control go back a long way:
    • Late ’60s / early ’70s = DBMS
    • Then = the still evolving and important role of “data administration:
      • Managing all the computerized data resources of a company
getting corporate data into shape the problem inconsistent data definitions
Getting Corporate Data into Shape: The Problem: Inconsistent Data Definitions
  • Problem: data definitions incompatible from:
    • Application to application
    • Department to department
    • Site to site, and
    • Division to division
  • Reason: to get application systems up and running quickly, system designers sought data from the cheapest source or politically expedient source
  • Result: different files with:
    • Different names for same data, and
    • Same name for different data etc.
getting corporate data into shape the problem inconsistent data definitions cont
Getting Corporate Data into Shape: The Problem: Inconsistent Data Definitions cont.
  • Account Number
  • AcctNum
  • AcctNumb
  • Acct#
  • A/CNum
  • Note: people (in the majority of cases) weren’t stupid
    • They never dreamt their files / databases etc. would be used in this manner
    • Historical ‘stand alone’ computing
      • Information collation, use, communication etc. = never thought possible
getting corporate data into shape the role of data administration
Getting Corporate Data into Shape: The Role of Data Administration
  • The use of DBMS - database management software, reduced, to some extent, the problems of inconsistent and redundant data in organizations
    • However merely installing & running a DBMS is not sufficient to manage data as a corporate resource
  • Database administration: concentrates on administering databases and the software that manages them
getting corporate data into shape the role of data administration cont
Getting Corporate Data into Shape: The Role of Data Administration cont.
  • Data administration is broader:
    • To determine what data is being used outside the organizational unit that creates it
    • Whenever data crosses organizational boundaries, its definition and format need to be standardized
  • Data dictionaries are the main tools by which data administrators control standard data definitions
getting corporate data into shape erp enterprise resource planning
Getting Corporate Data into Shape:ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
  • To bring order to the data mess, data administration has four main functions:
    • Clean up the data definitions
    • Control shared data
    • Manage data distribution, and
    • Maintain data quality
  • Interestingly, many companies really did not take these four jobs seriously until the mid 1990s, when they needed consistent data to install a company-wide ERP package
  • ERP provided the means to consolidate data to give management a corporate-wide view of operations
    • E.g. MeadWestVaco (Chapter 1)
monsanto case example managing corporate data erp
MonsantoCase Example: Managing Corporate Data / ERP
  • Monsanto case study to illustrate one company’s success in getting its corporate data in shape
  • Monsanto is a provider of agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, and chemicals. 50% revenues outside USA, it is decentralized
  • Monsanto established three large enterprise wide IT projects:
    • To redevelop operational and financial transaction systems using SAP
    • To develop a knowledge-management architecture, including data warehousing, and
    • To link transaction and decision support systems via common master data, known as enterprise reference data (ERD)
monsanto case example managing corporate data erp cont
MonsantoCase Example: Managing Corporate Data / ERPcont.
  • Monsanto is too large and complex to operate SAP as a single installation
    • They have created a distributed SAP architecture
    • With separate instances of SAP for reference data, finance, and operations in each business unit
      • The master reference data integrates these distributed components
  • To convert SAP data to knowledge, Monsanto uses data warehouses
    • The sole source of master data is the ERD, but the data can be distributed wherever they are needed
  • To get corporate data in shape, Monsanto created a department called ERD Stewardship to set data standards and enforce quality—hence its nickname, “the data police.”
    • Independent of MIS
monsanto case example managing corporate data erp cont26
MonsantoCase Example: Managing Corporate Data / ERPcont.
  • Another newly created function is entity specialists = managers with the greatest stake in the quality of data
  • Also, data managers who now adhere to the new ERD rules
    • This has led to a cultural change: The idea of “tweaking” a system to fix a local discrepancy, formerly common, can now cause a major disruption in operations or a bad decision based on faulty data
  • Getting the data in shape was a huge undertaking, but it has made the company more flexible
  • Monsanto is already reaping bottom-line benefits from better integration and greater flexibility
managing information
Managing Information
  • Once enterprises get their data into shape, that data can more easily be turned into information

“Information is power.”

“We are in the Information Age.”

  • These and similar statements would lead you to believe that managing information is a key corporate activity
    • Technology = infrastructure;
    • Asset = information that runs on that infrastructure
  • It also raises a number of management issues
managing information four types of information
Managing InformationFour Types of Information
  • In Figure 7-3 we looked at a matrix representing the full scope of data information resources:
      • Internal record-based information, such as those found in databases
        • Which we discussed in detail but there are others:
          • Internal document-based information, such as reports, opinions, e-mails and proposals. Pertains to concepts: ideas, thoughts, etc.
          • External/record-based information,such as acquisition from external databases.
          • External/document-based: WWW
managing information four types of information cont
Managing InformationFour Types of Information cont.
  • Internal record-based information was the original focus of IS departments because it is the type of information that computer applications generate and manage easily
  • External record-based = accessible via Internet or public databases
    • Including subscription
  • Until recently = little attention to internal and external document-based information because it was so difficult to manipulate in computers
    • Intranets changed this
    • Documents = integral part of information on these sites
      • Responsibility = now on IS, even if just for technical issues
  • Four areas were responsibility of different areas but now IS is likely to be involved in some way
managing information data warehouses
Managing InformationData Warehouses
  • Data warehouse: Houses data used to make decisions
    • This data is obtained periodically from transaction databases
    • The warehouse provides a snapshot of a situation at a specific time
  • Data warehouses differ from operational databases in that they do not house data used to process daily transactions
    • Operational databases have the latest data
    • Data warehouses = not so ‘time critical’
    • Like ERP systems, they, too, spurred getting record-based data into shape
  • The most common data warehoused are customer data, used to discover how to more effectively market to current customers as well as non-customers with the same characteristics
managing information data warehouses cont
Managing InformationData Warehousescont.
  • The simplest (MIS) tools generate perforated reports or permit ad hoc queries
  • Warehouses are reaching beyond reporting internal data
    • They are being combined with purchased data, such as demographic data, late breaking news and even weather reports, to uncover trends or correlations that competitors might not spot
    • To give a company a competitive edge
managing information data warehouses cont35
Managing InformationData Warehousescont.

Key Concepts:

  • Metadata: The part of the warehouse that defines the data. Metadata means “data about data.”
    • Metadata explains the meaning of each data element, how each element relates to each other, etc.
    • It sets the standard – without it data from different legacy systems cannot be reconciled, so the data will not be “clean”
  • Quality data: Is the cleaning process to adhere to metadata standards
    • The older the data the more suspect its quality
  • Data marts: Is a subset of data pulled off the warehouse for a specific group of users
    • In the early 1990s, one huge warehouse was envisaged, but proved un-practical due to long search times and large cost factors
managing information data warehouses cont36
Managing InformationData Warehousescont.

5 Steps in a Data Warehousing Project:

    • Define the business uses of the data
    • Create the data model for the warehouse
      • i.e. defining the relationships between the data elements
    • Cleanse the data
    • Select the user tools
      • Consider the users point of view by selecting the tools they will use & then training them on tool use
    • Monitorusage and system performance
  • Data warehouses are seen as strategic assets that can yield new insights into customer behavior, internal operations, product mixes and the like
  • But to gain the benefits, companies must take the step of reconciling data from numerous legacy systems
    • = Make sure the data is ‘right’
owens minor case example data warehousing
OWENS & MINORCase Example: Data Warehousing
  • Illustrates numerous ways O&M are using its data for competitive advantage
  • Includes us of
    • ERP
    • Data warehousing
    • Web
  • Not only for internal use but as the basis for new revenue-generating services to customers and suppliers
  • Shows how innovative companies can use advanced information management technologies
owens minor case example data warehousing cont
OWENS & MINORCase Example: Data Warehousing cont.
  • This distributor of name-brand medical and surgical supplies uses ERP, data warehousing, and the Web
    • Not only for internal use of data
    • But as the basis for new revenue-generating services to customers and suppliers
  • It is using its data for competitive advantage
    • It augmented its ERP system to automate order forecasting, which:
      • Improved inventory turns
      • Lowered ordering rates from five-times-a-week to once-a-week, and
      • Improved customer service
    • It implemented an Internet-based inventory management system so that customers could order over the Internet, even using handheld devices
    • It even offered access to its data warehouse and decision support software to customers and suppliers who use the data to run their businesses
owens minor case example data warehousing cont39
OWENS & MINORCase Example: Data Warehousing cont.
  • Delivering this information over the Web has:
    • Strengthened its relationships with trading partners
    • Given it a market-leading feature to entice new customers, and
    • Turned the data warehouse into a new source of revenue
  • When the system was rolled out, it was the first “e-business intelligence application” in the medical and surgical supply distribution industry
  • As a result, O&M has become an important “infomediary” in its industry
managing information document management
Managing InformationDocument Management
  • Even in today’s Internet-rich world, paper still plays a major role in most enterprises
  • There is also a need to move seamlessly between digital and printed versions of documents; hence, the importance of document management
  • The field of electronic document management (EDM) uses new technologies to manage information resources that do not fit easily into traditional databases
  • EDM addresses organizing and managing conceptual, descriptive, and ambiguous multimedia content.
  • Applying technology to process traditional documents makes a major change in what documents can accomplish in organizations
managing information document management cont
Managing InformationDocument Management cont.
  • It is hard to think of anything more pervasive and fundamental to an organization than documents
    • The impact of applying emerging technologies to document management is potentially significant
    • EDM contributes to business process redesign
  • Numerous EDM applications generate value. The ‘Big 3’ are:
    • To improve the publishing process
    • To support organizational processes
    • To support communications among people and groups
  • The concept of just-in-time (printing, publishing and forms processing) pervades the design philosophy in all three areas
document management improving the publishing process
Document Management:Improving the Publishing Process
  • Technology enables a major restructuring of the process of publishing and distributing paper documents
  • Traditional Process – designed primarily for high volume and high quality documents – shown in Figure 7-6
  • Process has inefficiencies:
    • Infrequent long print run requires storing documents which become obsolete between runs
    • 60% of the total cost of delivering theses documents is in storage & transportation
document management improving the publishing process cont
Document Management:Improving the Publishing Process cont.
  • Figure 7-7 shows the steps in the revised publishing/distribution process using newer technologies
    • Documents are stored electronically, shipped over a network, and printed when they are needed
  • The major benefits result from reducing obsolescence, eliminating warehouse costs & reducing or eliminating delivery time
hicss personal proceedings case example edm improving the publishing process
HICSS PERSONAL PROCEEDINGSCase Example – EDM: Improving the Publishing Process

Hawaii International Conference – System Sciences:

  • Decided to produce a paper book of abstracts, with a CD ROM of the full papers
  • Many participants wanted to see the full papers at the conference
  • A month before the proceedings participants can use a Web site to choose 20 papers they would like to have in their personal paper proceedings
  • Additional papers can be printed individually using a “print on demand”service
    • For a ‘nominal’ fee
document management supporting communication among people and groups
Document Management:Supporting Communication Among People and Groups
  • The value of documents is that they transfer information across time and space
    • Internet can help but often still rely on ‘paper’ documents
  • EDM can be used to facilitate such communications among people and groups
tapiola insurance group case example edm supporting communications among people and groups
TAPIOLA INSURANCE GROUP Case Example – EDM: Supporting Communications Among People and Groups
  • Tapiola Group offered 150 kinds of insurance policies with 300 different insurance policy forms
    • All preprinted by an outside print shop
  • Reprinting new forms often took weeks
    • Which represents possible loss of revenue
tapiola insurance group case example edm supporting communications among people and groups cont
TAPIOLA INSURANCE GROUP Case Example – EDM: Supporting Communications Among People and Groups cont.

Document Processing Goals

  • Investigate alternate way to print policies & statements
    • Goals:
    • Reduce costs
    • Stop using preprinted forms
    • Give Tapiola marketing people new ways to advertise insurance products
    • To make Tapiola “the most personal insurance company in Finland”
tapiola insurance group case example edm supporting communications among people and groups cont50
TAPIOLA INSURANCE GROUP Case Example – EDM: Supporting Communications Among People and Groups cont.

Centralized Solution

  • Switched to plain paper printers from Rank Xerox
  • Products for electronic document processing – document can included text, data, image & graphics

Conversion of the output equipment took 15 months = reduce 300 preprinted forms to 4

tapiola insurance group case example edm supporting communications among people and groups cont51
TAPIOLA INSURANCE GROUP Case Example – EDM: Supporting Communications Among People and Groups cont.

Decentralized Expansion

  • Document processing conversion – one part of the effort to improve & humanize their customer correspondence
  • Moved much of the printing of customer correspondence to their 62 branch offices
  • Mission accomplished:
    • $$$ 
    • Tapiola is seen by Finland citizens as a dynamic company - & have the best reputation among young people of all insurance groups
document management supporting organizational processes
Document Management:Supporting Organizational Processes
  • Documents are still the vehicle for accomplishing most processes in organizations
    • Many such = “Workflow systems” – heavily based on the physical circulation of paper forms
  • The use of technology to support processes generates significant value in reducing physical space for handling forms, faster routing of forms, and managing and tracking forms flow & workload
  • In addition to improving transaction-oriented business processes with EDM, many organizations are improving the management processes of reporting, control, decisionmaking, and problem solving as well
tennessee valley authority case example edm supporting organizational processes
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITYCase Example: EDM: Supporting Organizational Processes
  • Largest supplier of power in US
  • Revamped maintenance management system
    • System relies on documents such as manuals, drawing & work instructions that are regulated by the government
  • Analyzed & charted existing work processes, determined which improvements were most needed
  • Investigate how to do so and discovered work orders were inextricably linked to document workflow & the ways procedures were managed
tennessee valley authority case example edm supporting organizational processes cont
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITYCase Example: EDM: Supporting Organizational Processes cont.
  • New process – electronically combined maintenance orders in one system with procedural document management in another system, & eliminated a number of existing systems that didn’t talk to one another
    • Maintenance workers can now access documentation on equipment, parts and records as well as work instructions from desktop machines
    • Work orders are generated electronically and then routed for approval with the most current drawings and procedures attached
  • The system has been successful – BUT – the team underestimated the change management effort needed
    • Including bringing many employees up to speed on using computers
  • Labor savings were large
    • The average amount of human time spent processing a work order has decreased by almost half from 39 hours to 23 hours
  • Improved document management system is contributing to knowledge management
managing information content management
Managing InformationContent Management
  • Corporate intranets now house documents that were previously paper-based
  • A major reason content has become important to CIOs is because it is a core management discipline underlying online business
    • Without production-level Web content, management processes, and technologies, large-scale e-business is not possible
    • Use of XML moves Web content from being in a human-only readable format to being in a computer-readable format
    • Thus, the content can be passed to back-end transaction processing systems and cause an action to take place
  • Content is no longer static; it is active
managing information content management cont
Managing InformationContent Management cont.
  • To create a content management strategy, companies need to understand the three phases of the content management life cycle:
    • Managing Content Creation and Acquisition
    • Content Administration and Safeguarding
    • Content Deployment and Presentation
content management managing content creation and acquisition
Content Management:Managing Content Creation and Acquisition
  • Content creation and acquisition need to focus on creating content quality
    • That’s why it might be wise to buy some content from specialists – which is called syndicated content – rather than create it in-house
  • The best organizational structure is to distribute content creation and maintenance to content-expert employees
    • But to avoid anarchy, these dispersed experts should be directed centrally, and use centrally-created formats and an automated workflow system that moves their work along
content management content administration and safeguarding
Content Management:Content Administration and Safeguarding
  • The emphasis in this phase, like any operational phase, is efficiency
    • Goal = achieve the most with the least effort
  • Content management tools can be used to identify types of content and the business rules that apply to each type
  • Whereas content creation should be distributed, content administration should be centralized
content management content deployment and presentation
Content Management:Content Deployment and Presentation
  • The emphasis in this phase should be effectiveness:
    • Presenting the content so that it:
      • Attracts visitors
      • Allows them to navigate the site easily, and
      • Leads them to the desired actions
  • Because this phase can determine the success of a firm’s e-commerce efforts, it’s best to design a Website beginning with this phase
    • Then move on to ensuring content quality and processing efficiency
    • Eastman-Kodak case: moving from an ‘inside-out’ view to taking its customers point of view
  • Today most Web sites need certain features to attract and keep visitors. Two of the most important are:
    • Personalization = allowing visitors to customize how they view the page
    • Localization = tailoring a site to a culture, market or locale
eastman chemical company case example content management
EASTMAN CHEMICAL COMPANYCase Example: Content Management
  • Thisglobal manufacturer of chemicals had a Website in 1994
  • It redesigned the site in 1999 to become more customer-focused and to launch a major e-commerce program
  • Eastman changed the Website structure from presenting an inside-out view (based on its corporate structure) to presenting an outside-in view (with sections devoted to the markets the company serves)
  • Eastman selected a content management product to create pre-approved templates for employees to use
eastman chemical company case example content management cont
EASTMAN CHEMICAL COMPANYCase Example: Content Management cont.
  • The benefits of the redesign were far greater than expected
  • Today, traffic has tripled (more than 50 percent from outside the United States) and 70 percent of the hits are in the market sectors, where Eastman sells its products
  • Customers report that the online availability of technical data has significantly accelerated their internal decision-making processes
  • It’s now working on globalizing and personalizing the site even more
content management managing blogs
Content Management:Managing Blogs
  • Blog = short for “Web Log”
    • Web site where an individual makes intermittent Web postings – an online journal
  • Powerful tools
    • Compete with major media
    • Influence on e.g. politics and company policy
      • 2004 U.S. elections
  • Some forward thinking companies have recognized the power of this immediate form of publishing and communication
    • Used for crisis management?
    • Employees need to be careful else = trouble
    • Opportunities and challenges for organizations
groove networks case example managing blogs
GROOVE NETWORKSCase Example: Managing blogs
  • Views personal websites and blogs positively
  • Has issued Employee Guidelines for Personal Website and Weblogs
    • Make it clear to readers that the views you express are yours and not necessarily those of the company
    • Take care not to disclose any confidential information
      • Company
      • Third party
    • Since your site is a public space, be respectful to
      • Company
      • Our employees
      • Our customers etc.
    • ….Finally, the company may request that you temporarily confine your commentary to topics unrelated to the company
  • The job of managing information resources is widening significantly
  • Not only must IS departments get corporate data in shape, but they also need to create and build an infrastructure for managing the full range of information types
  • In some ways, the Internet helps because it gives companies an easily accessible place to store information
  • On the other hand, the Internet has also contributed mightily to the information glut we all face