Information supply is an area which has received great importance within almost every human context. A Corporate´s information has come to be its most valuable asset. I would like to give an insight into why information supply therefore should be treated as a strategic issue rather just an operational issue.

Many parts of today’s business have become digital and the amount of data is making us lose control. Business processes from product development to customer management and business interaction demand efficient digital solutions. Customer meetings and consulting take place on the Internet and homepages. Insurance and Finance industries are strongly driven by laws and regulations forcing them to develop digital reporting, control and surveillance solutions. Budgeting and forecasting are other operational areas that have become digital. Digital information is everywhere, in duplicate copies and in different formats. Same or similar data is stored in different databases. Data volumes are increasing by 40-60% annually and in many different formats.

Information supply will become an enormous challenge for everyone in Insurance and Finance industry, no one can avoid this. Business will demand advanced analysis in real time and will have to include both external data as well as non-structured data. It is similar to the arising of the perfect storm.

We need to focus on the link between corporate´s strategic capabilities and the organization’s data. Which data contributes to develop strategic capabilities?

  • How can data contribute to, and develop capabilities that are valuable in the sense of exploiting possibilities in the market or fighting threats?
  • How can data contribute to, and develop capabilities differentiating the corporate?
  • How can data contribute to, and develop capabilities with are hard to copy or substitute?
  • How can data be adapted and integrated in the business model?

Fundamentally, most everything in today’s business operations is standardized, except how you manage your information! The information you dispose of therefore, becomes a critical resource and how you utilize it could come to create what we call Information Based Capabilities (IBC).

In order to utilize information strategically we need to develop an Information Strategy linked to your business strategy and business model. The information strategy contains information targets, key information capabilities, and focus areas for the information supply. The focus areas give guidance about what is important, what is less important, and demonstrate which important trade-offs have been made. But this is only a part of the story. We also need to develop a strategic plan that actually tells us how we shall realize the information strategy.

Why is the Information Strategy a critical success factor?

Many companies today fail because they focus on processes, technology, and sometimes on individuals in the organization, but very often forget about treating their information supply strategically. Instead they risk treating their information supply as merely an operational issue. If you treat your information supply as just an operational issue you will fundamentally continue doing the same things as before even if they happen in a more efficient way. But it won’t be in a different or in a significantly smarter way than compared to your competitors.