As part of recognizing the value of an organizations data, it must take the same approach to its information as it does to its accounting principles. Such a discipline enables the organisation to find the path forward to truly seeing data as an asset. Information Asset Principles (IAP) are but a part of data governance and Information Management as a whole. Alone, IM is simply about organising and managing the organisations information so that it can be turned into knowledge and thus, intelligence.

By seeing information as a corporate asset, more attention is paid to viewing and truly valuing information as it should be – a corporate asset with monetary value. No organisation today can survive without its unique sets of information. If you lost all your customer data, what would its value be? How would you re-build it and how much would that cost? What would be the impacts on revenues until it was re-built? These information principles follow a framework similar to those of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), commonly used for financial accounting. They may in part appear familiar to an accountant or CFO. The principles are based on assumptions and constraints.

Incorporating IAP’s within the organization is based on first ensuring a set of good Information Management (IM) processes and the organisation having invested in building out its Knowledge Management (KM) policies as part of its IM strategy. The terms IM and KM are often used intertwined with each other. Generally, Information Management (IM) relates to overall data governance, cybersecurity, information security, knowledge management and corporate governance as it relates to data and information. 

IAP principles can only truly be implemented, managed and governed when the organisation has established its Information Management policies and implemented policies and procedures that ensure the structuring of data into information so that it can become actionable knowledge. Without doing this, there can be no viable way to recognize information as an asset. For information to become knowledge, it must be understood. Once it is understood it becomes knowledge that can be acted upon; in another word – intelligence. Then you can start to apply GAAP type rules and build out a process…but that’s for another post.

Giles Crouch is a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and digital anthropologist. He uniquely ties his deep knowledge of technology, marketing, design thinking and digital anthropology and as a polymath he helps clients seeking digital advantage in today’s complex world. Giles' initial years in business were in marketing communications in the technology sector. He also co-founded the Ice Awards for creative in advertising in Atlantic Canada. Giles has been regularly interviewed by international news media on topics such as social media, blockchain, artificial intelligence and their impacts on society. He is a passionate practitioner of design thinking and digital anthropology (netnography). Giles is prolific writer and public speaker, lecturer and keynote. He has also completed over 300 netnographic research projects since 2009. His secondary engagement is as Group Publisher with HUM@NMedia Inc., a Canadian health and wellness focused media company.

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