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You are here: Home Library EIMI Archives Volumn 4, Issue 4 - October 2010 Small Businesses Need Education in EIM
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Small Businesses Need Education in EIM

By Anne Marie Smith, Ph.D.

Less than one-quarter (25%) of small-medium businesses have heard about enterprise information management (EIM) and its components. Among those who have heard the term “enterprise information management”, over two-thirds said that they did not know what it meant, according to a recent survey that was conducted by a leading publication.

Even among the small-medium businesses that use relational database-oriented software not all of them have heard of data architecture and meta data management, and most do not know what these terms connote.  Many of the respondents believe that data architecture refers to the database management system (DBMS), and many think that having a website is the way they “manage” their data.

When asked about other EIM components, most respondents (almost 75%) could not define what data governance was or why it was an essential aspect of data management for any organization in the 21st century, and they did not see why IT would not be the “owners” of the organization’s data.

It is imperative that EIM consultancies and vendor-agnostic organizations such as DAMA International ( articulate the objectives and benefits of enterprise information management to smaller businesses. Generally, small-medium businesses do not have in-house IT departments and have no understanding of the interaction needed between IT and the business for successful enterprise information management. Overall, product vendors and major consultancies focus on large enterprises and do not consider smaller businesses to be a source of new and sustainable revenue.

Understanding the enterprise information management function is made more difficult by the variety of names that the discipline has across organizations: information management, data management, enterprise data management, information resource management, data administration, and enterprise information management. 

Also, the components of enterprise information management are not fully agreed upon, although most experts include the following as pieces of the EIM puzzle: meta data management, data governance and stewardship, data and information quality, data architecture and modeling, data warehousing and business intelligence, master and reference data management, records and unstructured data management, and data security.

It is imperative that all organizations of any size and any industry / field learn about enterprise information management, how it can contribute to the organization’s success and what EIM experts can do to ensure the effective management of the organization’s information assets.


About The Author

Anne Marie Smith, Ph.D. is a highly acclaimed data management professional, consultant, author and speaker in the fields of data stewardship and governance, data warehousing, data modeling, project management, IS strategic planning and metadata management. She holds a doctorate in Management Information Systems, and is a certified data management professional (CDMP) and project management professional (PM). Anne Marie has been a consultant in data management for organizations across many industries and she has taught in LaSalle University’s and Rowan University’s Management Information Systems departments. Anne Marie serves on the board of directors of DAMA International and is on the faculty of Northcentral University. Anne Marie is a columnist for the EIM Insight journal and can be contacted at  



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