Revisiting an Old Idea: Information Resource Management

Loraine Lawson

Here's an old idea whose time may have come: Information Resource Management.


IRM is the practice of inventorying and essentially policing all of an organization's information and information components. It's not just information management, because it encompasses all of the data, procedures, programs, projects, job functions and, yes, even business processes. IRM is also involved at the application development level.


IRM enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame in the mid-1990s, then disappeared off the IT management radar -- possibly because most organizations weren't capable of imagining or technically enforcing such an ambitious practice.


But it has been done. And as management consultant Tim Bryce argues in his IT Toolbox blog, if more organizations would undergo IRM, it would simplify even massively complex enterprise problems. Specifically, he believes Y2K would've been no big deal, if only companies were practicing IRM.


You're probably thinking you need neither another three-letter acronym nor methodology. And, honestly, Bryce takes a very dim view of management's readiness to implement IRM. Nonetheless, it's an intriguing idea that could be useful as more companies move to an SOA environment.


Be sure to check out the reader comments, which include one person's account of working in a company that enforced IRM.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 26, 2007 2:12 AM Dave Wright Dave Wright  says:
The problem remains that an average business does not see Information as a resource that can be managed from a dollar/accounting perspective, like inventory or plants.Information is ephemeral, and usually has a short 'shelf-life' as well; most business's today know its important, but its like goodwill, you can't put it on the asset side of a balance sheet. Creating new information systems is certainly recorded as an expense, and some aspects are even being capitalized to be written down over a few years; but the information itself, how do you measure that it was or is valuable in the successful running of the business?Will some means of valuing information in an accounting sense ever be defined. I don't know, but if some managers are waiting for that before doing IRM, they should stop hedging and just get to the task of implementing IRM, even on a small scale to start. Reply
Apr 26, 2007 11:36 AM E. A. Capuano E. A. Capuano  says:
I agree with the idea that IRM has several "footprints" in SOA and system development processes. In the near future perhaps the software industry would be building enterprise applications the same way car industry make its toys. May be the traditional manufacturing industry has much more to teach the software industry than could realize our vain IT philosophy.E. A. Reply

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