Small Businesses Need Education in EIM

By Anne Smith

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 is a leading consultant in Information Management and is a frequent contributor to various IS publications. Anne Marie has over 20 years experience in information management for several corporate entities and has successfully led the development of data resource management departments within corporations and consulting organizations. Anne Marie is active in the local chapter of DAMA and serves on the board of directors of DAMA International, and is an advisor to the DM Forum. She has been an instructor of Management Information Systems (MIS) with Philadelphia, PA area colleges and universities. Anne Marie has taught topics such as: data stewardship and governance, data warehousing, business requirements gathering and analysis, metadata management and metadata strategy, information systems and data warehouse project management. Anne Marie’s areas of consulting expertise include metadata management including data stewardship and governance, information systems planning, systems analysis and design, project management, data warehouse systems assessment and development, information systems process improvement and information resource management/data resource management. Anne Marie holds the degrees Bachelor of Arts and a Master's of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from La Salle University; she has earned a PhD in MIS at Northcentral University. She is a certified logical data and process modeler and holds project management certification. Anne Marie can be reached at

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