Benefits of an EIM Initiative

By Mike Jennings

More and more companies are coming to the realization that an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) initiative provides a critical foundation that is essential to meet today’s many business challenges. A fundamental asset of any organization is data – it is a critical resource that should be managed. Many organizations must transform from their current practice of creating isolated islands of data, that only satisfies individual programs or business units, and begin to manage data at the enterprise level.

An EIM initiative makes it possible to use appropriate processes, policies and technologies to collect, disseminate and maintain the integrity of critical data elements across multiple programs in a manner that is equitable and responsive to all aspects of the enterprise. In addition, EIM allows an organization to integrate data across the enterprise, with the primary goal of building a source of enterprise-aligned data for distribution and consumption by all users in the enterprise. Through the implementation of EIM strategies, today’s organizations are able to address the challenges described above and provide more efficient, effective, and proactive services to their external and internal information customers. Establishing and maintaining an EIM initiative will enable an organization to realize enterprise wide integration and alignment goals that are too often missing from current information strategies.

Increasing the cultural awareness and understanding of data management principles through a variety of specific EIM initiatives will improve an organization’s understanding of its business processes, organizational roles, data management and data ownership throughout the enterprise. This in-turn often promotes the collaboration and cooperation needed to create a single enterprise view of an organization’s products and services.

The primary benefit of an EIM initiative for many organizations is the building of an efficient and agile data management organization with enhanced capabilities for information creation, capture, distribution, and consumption. EIM can provide and preserve enterprise business information in a manner that is secure, easily accessible, meaningful, accurate and timely. Some additional EIM benefits include:

  1. Data Quality

  2. Improved accuracy and consistency of information distributed to customers both inside and outside the organization through:
    • Consolidated data sources which eliminate program specific views of data and data redundancy, as well as confusion about its location
    • Consistent business rules for linking and aggregating data
    • Published data refresh schedules based on an enterprise understanding of user needs
    • Clear guidelines for QA responsibility and ownership and processes for data receipt and delivery
    • Established authority for and ownership of data which supports consistent enterprise-wide data definitions
  3. Information Management

  4. Increased effectiveness of data used for business planning and execution through:
    • An integrated, cross program view of the enterprise subject areas or data domains
    • A full life cycle view of enterprise data that supplies business strategies with a deeper understanding of these subject areas and their interactions
    • Documented enterprise information that increases the knowledge of the data currently available for data driven decisions, along with its location and latency
    • Process improvements in project management and system development that recognize the business value of information needed across the enterprise plus incorporates quality and usage metrics into the design of all products and their supporting infrastructure
    • An enterprise information delivery framework that accommodates easy data access by all users with varying levels of sophistication and access needs, including prompted, scheduled, and adhoc reports and queries plus analytics
  5. Process Efficiency

  6. Consolidated data architecture optimized for enterprise information delivery, reducing the amount of time consumers spend trying to obtain data and eliminating the use of systems never designed for information delivery
    • Self-service tools, reducing the dependency on technical staff for data access and eliminating the duplication of personnel resources within the organization
    • The implementation of technologically advanced strategies for sourcing and integration of data from business applications, which eliminate numerous redundant efforts currently in place
    • A technical architecture that understands and supports enterprise dependencies, reducing the time-consuming activities involved in planning, operating, and maintaining complex applications
    • A data architecture that understands data relationships, eliminating the need to expend resources to match data from various sources and to manually identify and reconcile resulting discrepancies
    • An enterprise technical architecture which eliminates the proliferation of redundant hardware and software within program areas along with the duplication of staff resources to manage them
  7. Security

  8. Organization data that is safeguarded from misuse through:

    • Standardized guidelines for handling and release of information that complies with regulatory and privacy requirements

    • A security infrastructure which ensures that individually identifiable information is stored in a protected environment

    • Audit trails and controls to ensure a consistent representation of information to information consumers

    • Disaster recovery strategies which prevent the loss of this critical enterprise asset

    • A data architecture strategy which ensures acceptable performance of information delivery mechanisms

  9. Organizational Agility

  10. Flexibility and agility to meet dynamic market demands through:

    • An enterprise data model that forms the foundation of all data initiatives plus accommodates growth with future requirements

    • A scalable enterprise technical architecture built to grow and adapt to changing conditions

    • An information framework that provides stability and consistency for current information delivery needs while standardizing processes and procedures which can quickly incorporate future requirements

    • Support for unstructured data, enabling more complete knowledge management for the organization and its clients

    • Reusable components that can be leveraged to reduce the time to market for new functionality

Organizations can realize many benefits from embracing an Enterprise Information Management initiative. Improvements in data quality, information management, process efficiency, security, and organizational agility represent just some of the many benefits many organizations realize. This does not mean that all ten component areas of an EIM framework must be adopted to realize the benefits. Organizations can begin realizing some of these benefits by developing an EIM strategy and roadmap that focuses on components providing clear business impact and value that are also technically feasible.

About the Author

Michael Jennings is a recognized industry expert in enterprise information management, business intelligence/data warehousing and managed meta data environment. He has more than twenty years of information technology experience in government, manufacturing, telecommunications, insurance, and human resources industries. Mike has published numerous industry articles for DM Review and Intelligent Enterprise magazines. He has been a judge for the 2002 - 2007 DM Review World-Class Solutions & Innovative Solution Awards and 2003 Wilshire Award for Best Practices in Meta Data Management. Mike speaks frequently on enterprise information/architecture issues at major industry conferences and has been an instructor of information technology at the University of Chicago's Graham School. He is a co-author of the book “Universal Meta Data Models” and a contributing author of the book “Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository”. He may be reached at

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