Commercial information management needs to be front of mind

May 9, 2016

In a recent international survey*, 97% of organisations say they are already using data and analytics in their business. These organisations are enjoying advantages such as making faster decisions (86% of respondents) and more accurate decisions (80% of respondents).

It is clear that, for professional services providers, commercial information management (CIM) needs to be front of mind. Commercial information (CI) is information of commercial value. The ability to capture and deliver CI to the right people at the right time enables us to gain insight that will provide a commercial advantage.

If CIM is not front of mind, then there is a knowledge gap - a disconnect between the skills and knowledge that we have, and what our day-to-day work now mandates. However, most of us already have a full plate. Is there still room to learn about CIM? The answer is yes.

We can use formal learning to fill this gap. While there are many degrees on offer by universities, such as Master of Information Studies, learning-by-doing can equally help. Here are 3 simple steps to help kick-start the process of closing any CIM knowledge gap.

1. Step 1 - Understand CIM

CIM is a term to describe methodologies or software that help an organisation manage the CI they use in the process of delivering their core services in an organised way. CIM converts CI about people, companies and property into an asset that has value and can be leveraged. In the survey we referred to above, 87% of respondents said that they have avoided a significant risk as a result of using data and analytics. CIM can help propel us to achieve something similar.

2. Step 2 - CIM is a 4-stage process

The management of CI has 4 stages:

  • Stage 1 - acquisition, creation
  • Stage 2 - retention (for example, storage)
  • Stage 3 - retrieval
  • Stage 4 - refresh (for example, update)

We need to identify which of these stages we must focus on. For example, many legal practices have lots of CI parked (that is, CI have been acquired and retained), but when the information is needed, often it could not be found! In this case, the focus should be on retrieval. 

3. Step 3 - use CIM best practice to overcome CIM challenges

CIM has challenges. For example, reluctance to change could inhibit the introduction of new processes that would require new skills from people who are accustomed to doing things a particular way.

What we can do is to divide CIM best practice into 2 categories, IT related and non-IT related. Focus on both - don't fall into the trap of believing IT is the complete solution. A good example of IT best practice is to choose CIM software that you could scale as the organisation grows. 

CIM is fast becoming more important to the professional services industry as an era of corporate data. Tomorrow's professional service providers must be able to harness technology and information to stay ahead.

SAI Global has a number of CIM solutions for your business. Take a look at how Encompass has helped Brown Wright Stein to manage their Commercial Information. Contact us today for an obligation free demonstration or to find out more.

*KPMG International survey: Going beyond the data: turning data from insights into value 2015

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