Information Asset Registers: A Short Guide

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Enterprise Information Asset Registers are a powerful information management tool. Download this guide to help you create and use an Information Asset Register to locate core value in your organisation.

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Information Asset Registers: A Short Guide

  1. 1. Information Asset RegistersA Brief Guide
  2. 2. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 2222 of 31313131Author: Janet Brimson, Lead Architect InfoREDAuthor: Janet Brimson, Lead Architect InfoREDAuthor: Janet Brimson, Lead Architect InfoREDAuthor: Janet Brimson, Lead Architect InfoRED© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013.All rights reserved.A.C.N. 118 987 867Apart from where content is professionally cited and InfoRED creditedin the citation, no part of this document may be reproduced,transcribed, translated into any language for any purpose whatsoeverwithout the prior written consent of InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd. Namesof programs and computer systems are registered trademarks of theirrespective companies.
  3. 3. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 3333 of 31313131ContentsContentsContentsContentsIntroduction ..........................................................................................................................................................4What can an Information Asset Register do?................................................................................................5Economics of Information Management ...........................................................................................................8Value..................................................................................................................................................................9Which Information Has Value?......................................................................................................................... 12Key Documents............................................................................................................................................. 12Registrations and Subscriptions................................................................................................................... 13Data Sets ........................................................................................................................................................ 14Key Business Processes ................................................................................................................................ 15Non-Standard Document Formats.............................................................................................................. 16Conversations and Collaborations.............................................................................................................. 17Metadata, Taxonomy and Tags ................................................................................................................... 17Gathering Detail.................................................................................................................................................. 19Engaging with Stakeholders......................................................................................................................... 19Information Owners Working Together...................................................................................................... 20What to Include................................................................................................................................................. 21Using the Register .............................................................................................................................................. 24Planning........................................................................................................................................................... 24Re-architecting systems and processes..................................................................................................... 26Discovering Innovation................................................................................................................................. 27Register Management........................................................................................................................................ 29About this Guide............................................................................................................................................... 30About Janet Brimson .................................................................................................................................... 30Other Resources ........................................................................................................................................... 30About InfoRED............................................................................................................................................... 31
  4. 4. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 4444 of 31313131IntroductionInformation Asset Registers list the information in yourorganisation that holds the most value. They are a livingbusiness control record.The Register details key information sources, their location andcustodians as well as detail regarding why this particular information isof value to the organisation. Value may be calculated, licensed, intrinsicor inherent. These Registers often focus on the important informationsources, collections or data sets in the business rather than allinformation. Importantly, the Register records the relationship of theinformation to the business.Information Asset Registers are beneficial to any organisation orbusinesses seeking to understand:their greater financial valuenew ways to innovate products and servicesways to improve product or service qualitythe best way to attempt an information and systems clean-upwhat is impacting information in their enterprise planning.Information Asset Registers first came about as a record of whatinformation an organisation had – just like an Enterprise InformationArchitecture stocktake. Some organisations held special registers tomonitor key documents only like those associated withboard meetings or their brand. Before digital assetsthere were several registers used to help managedocuments in circulation, documents entrusted toindividuals as well as registers indicating where physicaldocuments were stored.Over time, these lists were seen to contain a lot morevalue than expected. With changes in accountingpractices and an emphasis on corporate value, each ofthe enterprise architectural registers suddenly became
  5. 5. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 5555 of 31313131more than a management tool. Instead they are now recognised askeys to better managing enterprise risk and value.Different organisations use different types of Information Asset Registersto record high value information within their organisation. For example:research firms track patents, algorithms and formulasrecipes are high-value information assets for organisations inFood and Beverage manufacturingbrand management systems are critical and high-value foradvertising companiescandidate databases are the core value of a recruitment firmpatient datasets are key to medical and health establishmentsdrawing registers are critical to engineering and architecturalfirms.Sometimes high-value information is immediately obvious (as in theexamples above), but in most organisations there is a significantamount of valuable information buried that goes unnoticed,undervalued and undermanaged.Hidden information may be profitable or high risk. Until you know whatit is, where it is, who is using it and what for - you can’t say if it isvaluable or risky.For this reason alone it is best practice for CIO’s, Information and DataManagers to create and manage an Information Asset Register and tryto uncover the hidden value and potential information risks lurkingwithin the business.What can an Information Asset Register do?Information Asset Registers provide a formal record of the most valuedinformation in your organisation. They contain detailed, descriptiveinformation about different content, documents and data sets withinyour organisation.
  6. 6. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 6666 of 31313131Figure 1: Information Asset Register Example partial line itemIn the past, these registers were mainly used to list protectedintellectual property (IP) by certification dates and according to therestrictions of the jurisdiction in which the IP existed (these rules andconditions differ per country and sometimes by state or region).Due to the phenomenal amount of information we now create, useand store each day, Information Asset Registers are increasingly beingused for more specific and extensive forensic, management andreporting purposes.In Enterprise Information Architecture, the Information Asset Register isextended in detail to list all information, data and collections for thepurpose of informing management, integration, migration anddecommissioning opportunities and activities. A well-executedInformation Asset Register becomes an asset in itself and is thebackbone of any Information Quality and Management Plan.Specifically, the Register serves 3 core purposes:defines the information assets:what makes up the asset, parameters, constraints, users,location, number of records, key dates, custodiansapplies a value to the information assets:based on use, association to people, processes and places,based on owner, reporting cycles, compliance, investment,profitability or lossidentifies key themes and patterns across documents,collections and data that direct projects and activities forclean-up, migration, decommission, upgrade, gap analysis,training etc.
  7. 7. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 7777 of 31313131Figure 2: The 3 Core Purposes of the Information Asset RegisterTypical information required to be tracked includes:the number of information items in a set or collectionwho is using the information and what for (process, procedureor task)how long has this information been available or when it wasfirst needed or createdany information around the original cost of setup or the cost ofcurrent resources to maintain the information, informationcollection or information system.There are so many different descriptive aspects that can be coveredabout any piece of information – that is the fantasy that preoccupiesthe Information Architect. However, the aspects of most value relateonly to the context in which that information is used in that specificorganisation. That is a very unique and specific recipe and a keyattribute of an organisation’s DNA.Technically, the descriptive information about the asset may be storedin a basic Excel spread sheet, a SharePoint list or an EnterpriseArchitecture management solution or tool. The way you store it is notas important as getting the detail recorded and making it accessible tokey stakeholders.
  8. 8. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 8888 of 31313131Economics of InformationManagementInformation has value when it is of worth to a differentperson or process.Information needs to be consumed, trigger a derivation or be used tocreate new information to have value in the information economy. Thismakes information a generally invisible asset feeding unknownconsumption patterns all day long.Most organisations are not consciously aware of thevalue of any of the information they own, let alone whatis the most valuable.Organisations take information use and consumption forgranted. Storage is cheap, paper is cheap, printing isrelatively cheap, photocopiers, scanners and otherdigital recreation devices are in our pockets now. Morecompanies will limit printing availability based on ‘green’initiatives than through strong information governance.So the information economy makes it easy to copy,store, duplicate and manipulate anything digitally whether it started asa physical or digital object. The more we create, the more we store,the harder it is to find and discover and the more value is eroded orlost.This prevalence of information manipulation, creation, deletion,continuous change is totally taken for granted by individuals andorganisations.The majority of information workers in the Information Age have neverbeen taught how to think about, value or manage their information. Sowe all keep on creating and re-creating and manipulating in real-time toanswer whatever question is hanging around at that time.
  9. 9. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 9999 of 31313131If you personally don’t have the answer, Google definitely does and itsdownloadable, perpetuating the harvesting and discard or information,data, conversations and other communication means – formal andinformal.This complexity of information process relative to cheapness of accesscompounds issues around information economics and value as well asmanagement.ValueIf you were calculating the value of your home and contents for aninsurance policy you have a pretty good idea about what is valuable.You know how much your car, your shares, your jewellery or yourSuperannuation fund is worth.You are unlikely to know how much an email is worth or a handwrittenletter you sent to your Grandma when you were in the 4thgrade, butthat is not on the insurance company checklist so you are likely tooverlook it anyway.An original signature from George Washington issomething you wouldn’t overlook. A signed originalmanuscript of the movie the Matrix you wouldn’toverlook. A database of the last 10 years of your researchinto fish species in the local river will likely get overlookedon the insurance, but not in the number of backups youhave of that particular dataset.The insurance company has formulated its opinion ofworth and you work to it. Your hours of investment maymake you value one set of information differently fromanother. Emotional engagement stimulates a different value attachment.None of these valuation methods is more valid than another. It is allrelative and is all about context.The Value of NewsLet’s say we read a news article online. Where does its value lie?Looking internally only, I could attribute a value to the article based onwhat the journalist was paid.
  10. 10. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 10101010 of 31313131As an Editor, if I knew the total readership for my publication and thevalue of that readership, per click, online and can count the clicks(number of times someone supposedly had the intent to read thearticle), then I could value the article by the total attention it is receivingfrom the readership. I might weight the value based on the commentsit receives.If I kept an Information Asset Register I would probably want to knowthe sum of the value the article is generating minus the original cost ofgeneration by the journalist. I might also want to model the growth ordecline in value over time.In this context, I am not interested on what the information value wasto you as the reader – the main reason being in this case the article isfree.Innovation and Transaction InterruptionIf I wanted to be innovative I could do some research into yourperceived value for my financial benefit. If I knew the release of anarticle of this type every quarter will make 70 companies another$250K, I would likely devise a way to capitalise on those downloadsthrough subscription payments or some other finance-based accesslimitation.As information and information transactions are generally invisible, theyare hard to measure. So a primary role of the Information Asset Registeris to call attention to the information repositories, data sets andinformation transactions that are important. In this way, the registerhelps make the value of the information explicit.Value and Risk Drive Management StrategiesIf you can understand the value of an information asset and recordenough information about the cost of inception, the context of use,the ongoing cost of the management systems etc. you can understandwhat has high or low value and high or low risk.With that information you can:1. Target high value, high risk assets2. Justify a budget for resources to manage the asset3. Assign an appropriate management plan to monitor assetquality and risk.
  11. 11. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 11111111 of 31313131Information as IncomeIf a book took you a year to write – say $80K and you got a publishingdeal for $150K and then you get $1 every time a copy sold, you arenow looking at declarable income. This is an explicit information asset.The more of these you have, the more total value you have, as well asthe more tax you might have to pay.But say you want to get on the list of the richest authors. You mightneed to add up all of the assets and potentially value the onesyou are still working on or those in negotiation for film rightsetc.In corporations the value of the organisation is generallycalculated based on the total explicit value of assets. This ismultiplied by a fictitious number (which differs by industry andannual state of the economy) which is meant to represent thevalue that is likely to be able to be attributed to the intangibleassets.If you are a good corporate citizen and invest in making the value ofyour intangible assets explicit your balance sheet will appear more rosyand the fictitious intangible multiplier will not change. Thus throughdiligence and conscious information management you have helpedthe organisation increase overall value.
  12. 12. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 12121212 of 31313131Which Information Has Value?There is a lot of hidden value in information (documents,data, email, conversations) of any organisation.Often the first conundrum is where to look for what is of most value. Ifyour interest is only in tracking information assets related to your brandor a research programme, start with the obvious. Speak to the teams incharge of those areas of the business and start to dig outall IP registrations and any purchased subscriptions.Another obvious area to look at is where data sets arealready recognised as a collection eg. Customerinformation, Product Catalogues, Annual Reports, set ofpublications, policies or forms.Seek out the assets in the organisation where peoplerecognise an existing value relationship to the informationor data (eg. “this is critical to our work”).If you want to understand where business risk lies or where value ispotentially hidden, embark on a more detailed investigation and startwith investigating your business processes. This is also the mostbeneficial way to value information long-term. This type of detailedinformation will be critical if you are looking to do a completeinformation application overhaul.Key DocumentsEvery organisation keeps key documents that are critical to businessoperations, eg.:business continuity and disaster recovery plansbusiness strategiesstrategiescode of conduct.There are also key documents and data sets that are legislativelyrequired to be maintained in order to verify company operations. The
  13. 13. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 13131313 of 31313131general ledger is a data set holding the organisations financialaccountability. The reflection of the figures in the ledger in the financialstatements issued with the Annual Report are key documentsdemonstrating accountability.These types of documents are the ones you should look to evaluateand record early in the Information Asset Register population process.All policies and governance documentation are critical to the value ofan organisation and should be noted individually and as a collection.Unstructured information assets are generally found on file shares, inIntranets, Extranets, the web site and in other content, information andrecord keeping systems. Scan these systems. If you have users statisticsabout the system spots with the heaviest use, visit those first to findout why they are so popular.Don’t forget physical documentation stores – information assetmanagement extends beyond digital asset management. The historicaldocumentation of an organisation often is proof of the provenance ofthe products and services the organisation delivers and is key tocorporate value.Registrations and SubscriptionsPatents, logos, brands, ISSN, ISBN numbers, domain names are allrecognisable working information assets. Look for these formal assetsregistered by your organisation. There is likely to be existing informationabout how much they are registered for, when the registration mightrun out and other clues to their value.
  14. 14. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 14141414 of 31313131Look at the investments that have been made in information - whatwas acquired. Look for subscriptions, mailing lists that may have beenpurchased, data sets purchased for research etc. With this informationyou are monitoring the value of the initial investment and whether youare getting a greater value in its use. Subscription information does notbelong to your organisation so will be accounted for in a different way(eg. a Gartner report is an asset for Gartner, however the purchase of aGartner report may be an investment for your organisation).Data SetsData sets are used all over organisations. Some are originals, some arereplicas and some are near replicas or derivations. When you arecompleting your Information Asset Register, ensure you make a note ofwhether the data sets you find are original or replicas.The original data set is normally of most value. The replicas might becompromising value or interfering in decision making by providing out-of-date or manipulated information to decision makers.A near replica or derivation may have great value based on the way ithas been extended and may be assessed to replace the original.Find out how replica data sets are being used and whetherprocedures need to be put in place to limit their use and availability.The value of a data set is calculated using several aspects:Use and association: which business processes consume oradd to the data set and how important are they?Quality: when did someone last verify the data was correct?What data validation methods did they use?Interrelationship: does this data feed into other data sets inother systems?Risk: is this data set used to monitor a state of compliance orrisk?When analysing data sets ensure you review them for any complianceor audit requirements. Record the detail of the compliancerequirement in your Information Asset Register. Where possible identifythe internal subject matter expert you would need to speak to if anissue relating to the compliance data arose.
  15. 15. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 15151515 of 31313131If your organisation has a data entity diagram or data dictionary for thedataset, flag the entities and or attributes that are related tocompliance in that model to ensure care is taken when working withthese data attributes and records into the future.Where your organisation has access to data profiling tools, use them toextract additional information automatically to help populate theInformation Asset Register.Data sets are often dominated by numerical information. Someformulas and algorithms are worth a lot of money, especially if they areonly used by your company in your industry. Speak to subject matterexperts about any of the formulas they are using to get a sense of theirunique value to the business.Customer value is one of the highest areas of value for acommercial business. Many businesses are acquired justto get control of a customer list and the associatedrelationships. Most information associated with trackingcustomer relationships will be of high value.A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) mayhouse your customer data. How is that customer data stored withinthe system? Is it a simple name and address setup or is therecomprehensive records of sales activity, leads and other informationrelated to the sales pipeline buried in the Customer data set? Is theinformation being entered in a consistent way? Are there errors in thedata?Data quality and data errors require careful monitoring and recording inthe Information Asset Register. If there is a consistent pattern of errorsarising in the register it can signal the real need for a targeted clean-upcampaign to both increase overall value but also reduce potentialorganisational risk.Key Business ProcessesA business is the sum of its business processes.The way information is consumed and produced throughout thelifecycle of the business processes is very telling when it comes toinformation value. If you know the value of the business process youcan gauge the value of the information assets consumed and
  16. 16. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 16161616 of 31313131produced and more importantly the associated risk involved if thequality of the information was compromised or unavailable.This is the key area of value creation and is usually least understood.This is why it is critical for Enterprise Business Architects and EnterpriseInformation Architects to work closely together.The business functional decomposition will show you where all thedata points are exposed to users by process/procedure and task ifthat level of detail is required. This creates a blueprint of the companyprocesses, inputs and outputs - independent of technology.Identify the processes in your business as a high level mud map or as afull business process decomposition. Look at company profitability inrelation to each process. Some processes will be more critical thanothers in realising profit. Focus on these processes first when youinvestigate the value of the associated information.Any corporate control mechanism is likely to be an important influenceof process value. Look for all processes associated with methods,policies and frameworks. These are likely to be the high-valueprocesses and the critical risk challenges to the organisation.For example, if there is a Safety Plan, chances are there is a compliancerequirement to an external industry Safety standard. If you are non-compliant, the value of the associated business process is negatedthrough ‘shutdown’; inability to perform or complete. If there is anassessment on process completion, resources may be wasted if theyperform the process up to a point but are unable to achieve Safetysignoff. It is likely that information produced or consumed at the pointof potential failure is of significant risk and value to the organisation. Itcould be as simple as a safety checklist but if it is incomplete, of lowquality or wrong it puts the whole process at risk.Non-Standard Document FormatsDon’t forget to investigate non-standard document formats such asimages, videos and drawings. If the organisation has a lot of these theyare often stored in specialist systems.For example, engineering drawings associated with a project arecritical information assets for the project as well as the organisationwho has created the drawings or who purchased the design.
  17. 17. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 17171717 of 31313131Conversations and CollaborationsIncreasingly, organisations are filling up with forums, wikis, feeds,discussions and of course, they were already full of email.Conversations and collaborations environments need to be registeredper collection in the register. Their value comes about when you areeither mining the conversations for innovation, evidence or proof ofknowledge expertise.Metadata, Taxonomy and TagsMetadata is descriptive information about your information assets. Youdon’t need to record individual metadata attributes within theInformation Asset Register, but it is important to make note of any ofthe standards being used to govern the classification of yourinformation collections.For organisations using large content management systems such asSharePoint or Documentum, it is also important to note anycustomisations to artefact identification and classification. Hopefullythese are already documented somewhere (maybe as a designspecification) and those documents can be highlighted within theregister (eg. content type configurations used to manage yourinformation which may be unique to your organisation).If you have any specialist vocabularies, glossaries or taxonomies in use,they are likely to also be already documented in unstructureddocuments. These should be acknowledged in the register.Specifically highlight documents such as the Business ClassificationScheme which is one of the key information governance documentswithin an organisation.
  18. 18. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 18181818 of 31313131If your organisation is using lots of conversations, Web 2.0 conventionsfor tagging information, again it is important to capture the logic of thetagging system. The tags themselves and the systems being used tomanage the tagging are not required to be in the Information AssetRegister; the system will be recorded in the Enterprise ApplicationRegister if there is one.
  19. 19. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 19191919 of 31313131Gathering DetailThe way you gather the detail needs to target key uses of theInformation Asset Register first.Engaging with StakeholdersWhen trying to uncover all of the information in an organisation don’tfeel like it is a job to be performed alone. Engage with the businessand you will uncover key information faster. The business knows whatis important better than anyone as they use it all daylong.General SurveySome organisations conduct a general survey asking theorganisation which information is most important tothem on a daily basis. In this type of survey list the keyinformation systems and collections within theorganisation and get a sense of how often they areaccessed and how important to which business processes.Enterprise SurveyIf you are working on a larger Enterprise Architecture one technique touse is an Enterprise Survey. The survey is a structured interview withkey stakeholders to map their business processes and information useall in one session. Work closely with an Enterprise Business or StrategicArchitect to run these sessions and record all of the information.Work with IT Infrastructure and ApplicationsYour application and IT infrastructure support teams are likely to haveaccess to different reporting tools which can be used to scan drives,count files and indicate where high traffic events are occurring. Askthem to generate as many reports as they can to help you highlight keyissues of overlap and duplication but also get a clear sense of the sizeof the information eco-system under management.
  20. 20. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 20202020 of 31313131Desktop ScansIf your organisation does not have the resources to run reports acrosssystems for you perform your own desktop scans. Look throughfileshares for repeated folder and file names or areas where there arehigh numbers of document versions.Information Owners Working TogetherOne of the common points of failure in an organisation is where twoor more teams they believe they ‘own’ the same information – orworse – no one claims ownership.IMPORTANT:IMPORTANT:IMPORTANT:IMPORTANT: No one person ‘owns’ the information in an organisation.It all belongs to the legal entity behind the business. You may need tostress this point during your research to ensure all information is fullydisclosed. Where possible discuss custodians and stewards to getpeople used to the independence of the information.Make a note of any information assets where joint ownership is likely. Itmay be necessary to augment current governance documents toinclude procedures for joint stewardship of information, highlightingwho is responsible for what per cent of maintenance budgets orwhich teams resources are responsible for management andmaintenance.
  21. 21. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 21212121 of 31313131What to IncludeIt is often confusing to know what to include in yourInformation Asset Register.There are two main ways to address the Register’s scope:If your information asset register is for a specific purpose, focuson the descriptive detail of that purpose onlyFor a greater enterprise Information Asset Register, capture asmuch information as you can.You can never know too much about the information assets but youcan definitely know too little. Historic information and data may nothave as much information available about it as newer informationcollections. Focus on providing answers for as many dimensions of thedata as possible.Important information to record in the Information Asset Registerincludes:Identifying information – naming and numbering, project namesor numbers, author/creatorManagement information such as versions, revisions, extent andother lifecycle informationLocation, terms of access or use (offline and online), collectionor domain in which the information is storedParties involved (business function, company etc.) and natureof relationship, target internal or external audiencesAny specific security, rights management, ownership orauthorityRelationship of the information to business intelligence activitiesJurisdiction, spatial or temporal location including use inhistorical business eventsStandards and compliance relationshipsRelationship of this information to other information
  22. 22. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 22222222 of 31313131Information asset value where known or likely calculation orvaluation methodIdentifying and Descriptive InformationIdentifying information attributes are generally used to when lookingfor, creating or storing information, ie. the title, document name andother descriptive information – including nicknames. The context of theregister or your current enquiry will give you a sense of how muchinformation you might require.For documents and data, common attributes related to identityinclude:a unique business identifier for a dataset or documentcollectiona name of the dataset or document collectionwith datasets indicate whether it is a master, replica, nearreplica, derivation or single-source of truththe primary subject and/or (where possible use a value from abusiness unit controlled vocabulary)a description of the information collection including what typesof information are stored within it and how they are used bythe businessGOODGOODGOODGOOD DESCRIPTIONDESCRIPTIONDESCRIPTIONDESCRIPTION BBBBAD DESCRIPTIONAD DESCRIPTIONAD DESCRIPTIONAD DESCRIPTIONPDF and Word documentsrelating to the purchase oftelecommunications equipmentin 2005Telco docsExtentThe extent of the information is to do with scale andinfluences/parameters to use.Common attributes related to extent include:The size of the document, collection or datasetJurisdictional coverage if knownFormat of the document, collection or dataset (eg. PDF,MSWord, SQL, Oracle)
  23. 23. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 23232323 of 31313131Language if other than EnglishFor datasets, the minimum software and hardware requirementsto run the dataset if it required re-establishing.Data SetsWhen investigating datasets ensure you gather information regardingcurrent operations, eg.:Frequency of data updateDate last updatedLast known backup date and destinationDisaster recovery protocolsOperating age of the datasetThe system/application with which it’s hostedAny associated data logic, data models, informationarchitecture, information standards, business models that thedata is modelled onKnown integration, interaction or inter-relationships with otherdatabases of applicationsAny reporting capabilities.Data sets suffer from performance issues so if mentioned, make notesregarding current performance eg.:current performance levelsknown issues reported by users or support.
  24. 24. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 24242424 of 31313131Using the RegisterInformation Asset Registers are common tools in anEnterprise Architecture team but have other operational,strategic and tactical benefits across the business.These include areas such as planning, system redesign and innovationas well as demonstrating the actual value of certain informationcollections.PlanningCommonly, Information Asset Registers are used to record theavailability, currency and value of information. This supports internalinformation management planning activities.Reviewing the register for high value, high risk information sets that havesimilar issues. Highlight areas where a business case for clean-up,process improvement or system enhancement may be required. Thevalue of the assets impacted is used to inform the business case andjustify resourcing requests.Key themes to see emerge include:ISSUE:ISSUE:ISSUE:ISSUE: CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:Too many copies ofthe one set ofinformationInvest in a de-duplication activityIf it is hard to tell if the information is a clearduplication look to archive old versions andminimise confusionIssue new policies for information use and asingle-point of truthReview architectural issues causingduplicationPotentially purchase tools to assist in de-duplication and duplicate monitoringMultiple informationquality issuesIdentify key areas where information quality iscosting the business (eg. 7 different versionsof the one company data in the CRM – noneup to date or correct)
  25. 25. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 25252525 of 31313131Improve information governance proceduresIssue new policies for information useLook to potentially improve system controlsMore training for key users of the informationAssessing risk and costing maintenance andcleansing activitiesUnderstand common data maintenance andcleansing methodsSchedule regular information integrity reviewsImproved reporting on informationmanagement and quality initiativesNot enough knownabout a criticalhistorical informationcollectionOrder a detailed investigationEnsure a backup of the information isavailable and managed for disaster recoveryInterview past employees or vendorsConfusion over who‘owns’ the informationReview Governance rulesCommunication plan regarding informationstewardshipProcedures for working on informationmaintenance initiatives that involve jointownershipEnsure information steward succession plansare in placePotential breaches incomplianceInvestigate information managementobligations and requirementsRe-educate the business in the best way tomanage the information compliantlyMajor data orinformation overlapsStreamline critical information sets across thebusinessPotentially combine with de-duplicationactivitiesMajor information gapor lack of granularity tothe dataPlan to extend the information or datasetCreate a new data set to address the deficitReview Business Intelligence requirementsrelated to the informationInformation hard tofindArchiving and cleanse as much informationfrom the business to bring a focus back onwhat is high valueOnce the cleansing is complete look to
  26. 26. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 26262626 of 31313131introduce taxonomical structures for storage,classification and search tuning which matchand are consistent across all systems and allinformation domainsLook for opportunities to introduce morenavigation paths or streamline existing onesremoving any ambiguitiesRe-architecting systems and processesWhen systems go through upgrade, decommissioning or streamliningthere are likely to be several architecturally related activities requiredrelating to the information stored in the systems and the processesconsuming and producing the information.A common issue with information and business system re-architecturesis the perpetuation of existing issues. Moving from a current to a futurestate is usually seen as a next step in a system evolution rather than atotal redesign. This is relevant for applications and infrastructure to apoint but not information and business process. Always be critical ofthe existing process and look to re-engineer for optimisation,extension of value and ease of use.ISSUE:ISSUE:ISSUE:ISSUE: CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:CONSEQUENCE:Information overlapssuggest siloing ofsystemsIdentify the cost of lost opportunity fromsystem confusion or information separationUnderstand which processes are impactedby fragmentationReview support and maintenance issuesrelated to the systems before redesigningCount the collections and domainsoverlapping, cost of systems, storageLook for a core system to which informationcan be moved and make other systemsredundant or look to replace all with asystem more suited to the desired businessoutcomeInformation gapssuggest lack ofgranularity or missingsystemsReview business processes looking tooptimise the current information andprocesses prior to considering the extensionLook first to extend existing core systemsAugment systems with a new information set
  27. 27. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 27272727 of 31313131Business processoptimisationReview the impacts of business changes onthe information consumed and producedModify information to reflect process changerequirementsNew technical systemconventionsImpact analysis of the requirements of thenew system on the existing informationA new system is likely to require newmetadata requirements, new collectionsmanagement requirements, more reliance onlists and data sets or taxonomy to automateinformation and business processesReview the impact of the changes on access,search and discoveryEnsure changes in logic are communicatedto usersDiscovering InnovationThe information in the organisation holds value. Current value is in theway things currently run. Innovation is the hidden value if certaininformation is found or rediscovered or re-coupled and its valueexposed to the right processes to optimise the business.KEY AREAKEY AREAKEY AREAKEY AREA:::: RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:RESEARCH ACTIVITIES:Sales pipeline Research the potential cost of lostopportunityLook at how the current sales pipelineinformation is used and for opportunities tooptimise the flow of information to speedsales realisationLook for opportunities to better visualisewhat is happening in the sales pipeline forthe business to highlight trends in salesCustomer value Model potential profitabilityFeed external information about thecustomer activity (eg. news feeds and RSS)into a common profile area to highlightpotential opportunitiesClearly represent customer historic to thesales force including trends across industriesLook for opportunities to better visualisewhat is happening in the sales pipeline for
  28. 28. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 28282828 of 31313131the business to highlight trends in customeractivityKnowledgeContributionReport top content creators by functionalarea and use the findings to promote rewardor formalise their knowledge into newproducts and servicesLook for obvious omissions – wheresomeone who is a big talker or consideredstrategic to corporate value but is actuallynot formally contributing to the IP of theorganisationBring as much order to knowledgecollections to aid discovery and useLook at growth and change in topics ofonline conversation – reflect changing use ofterminology, growing use of newterminologies as ‘accepted’ speak innavigation, metadata taggingReport areas of new interest wheresuggesting new products and serviceopportunities are emergingResearch andDevelopmentMine research and development informationrelated to leading products and services andlook for opportunities for derivation, imprintbranding or cross-brand promotionLook for opportunities to bring two or moresets of information or data together fromdifferent projects to innovate on newproducts and services
  29. 29. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 29292929 of 31313131Register ManagementEvery organisation is different. The true value and use of theRegister will become apparent as it is populated andexposes trends, patterns and issues.The information eco-systems of your organisation will continue tochange. Keep the register alive and current, reflecting this ongoingchange.Where possible try and centralise the position of the register and makeit accessible to all key information custodians. In this way they canassist each other in the regular upkeep of Register detail.Ensure the governance around the use of the register is understoodand that there are information related committees or regular meetingswhere the business can highlight new issues, new maintenanceactivities, opportunities for consolidation, change and review.Remember the register is an information asset in its own right. The moreyou use it to inform information management activities the more value itcreates.Keep track of its use to inform business cases and activities and reportthat value against information management activities annually.
  30. 30. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 30303030 of 31313131About this GuideThis guide was authored by Janet Brimson, Lead Architect and Directorof InfoRED Consulting. The guide is intended to help educateInformation professionals in the value of an Information Asset Registerto their organisation.This guide is one in a series of InfoRED guides on best practiceinformation management.About Janet BrimsonJanet is an enterprise, information and business architect. Herarchitectures centre on what the user wants and the business needs todeliver. Her designs include taxonomies, knowledge systems, portals,web sites, digital learning environments, performance supportsolutions and multi-tiered information architecture and artefact modelsfor resource directories and information asset management systems.Her broad knowledge of business models and ability to creativelyexpress the vision of an organisation make her a highly regardedstrategic business advisor. She is a solutions innovator, providingtargeted insights into information process improvement.More information about Janet Brimson, InfoRED Director & LeadJanet Brimson, InfoRED Director & LeadJanet Brimson, InfoRED Director & LeadJanet Brimson, InfoRED Director & LeadArchitectArchitectArchitectArchitect is available at LinkedIn ....Other ResourcesFor further information on how to work through the business processdecomposition of your organisation and build your Information AssetRegister, we recommend Enterprise Architecture Planning: Developinga Blueprint for Data, Applications, and Technology by Steven Spewak.This is a highly practical guide book to enterprise architecture practice.
  31. 31. Information Asset Registers: An Introduction© InfoRED Consulting Pty Ltd, 2013 A.B.N. 43 118 987 867 Page 31313131 of 31313131About InfoREDInfoRED are a leading team of Australian Information Architects workingon global information solutions. We believe that the Information Age isabout being smart about information, not drowning in it.We understand:the power of informationhow to guide its presentation, storage and usehow to empower staff as information workers.Well-designed content and information systems help organisations beinnovative, organised, responsive and efficient. Our informationarchitectures are visionary and practical.InfoRED delivers online information and content architects working onweb sites, intranets, portals and other large information managementand governance projects. We also provide content supportprofessionals for migrations, cleansing and new builds.Contact UsContact UsContact UsContact Usemail: info@infored.com.auphone: +61 7 5474 2404

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