The Importance of Enterprise Information Management Education


Enterprise Information Management (EIM) is a field with many nuances, with many areas of interest. Well-schooled in the ways of businesses and familiar with different technologies, EIM professionals meet a demand for effective delivery of informational power to organizations.   However, the majority of institutions do not place much, if any, emphasis on the role of Enterprise Information Management in their curricula.  As a result, companies have been forced to educate their EIM professionals on their own or search for the best training from third-party organizations.

Enterprise Information Management can be defined as the set of disciplines, technologies and best practices to manage information as an enterprise asset. EIM functions ensure high quality data is available, controlled and effectively leveraged to meet the information needs of all enterprise stakeholders, in support of enterprise goals. EIM includes the development and execution of plans, policies, standards, projects and procedures that maximize the value of information assets. EIM provides a semantic layer that is implemented across the enterprise, not just for a single application or IT project. Effective EIM can achieve significant business benefits in lower operational costs, higher staff productivity, supply chain efficiency, customer service and loyalty, and better informed decision making.

Just as an architect absorbs the details and nuances of a client’s vision of a structure and translates this intelligence into reality, an EIM professional considers information and technology options and expectations for their use within the context of the organization’s goals and objectives.  The more fully EIM professionals understand how information is used in an organization, and the more sensitive they are to the informational needs of clients, the more accurate their EIM solutions will be.  Further, the increase in the understanding of data’s role in building and maintaining effective information systems will increase the level of usage and respect that the organization as a whole has for Enterprise Data Management.  A lack of analysis skills in the IT professsions is considered to be a cause of the almost 75% failure rate of applications development, as reported by The Gartner Group in their annual survey of Information Technology projects and practices.

“Enterprise Information Management is supplies informational power to an organization,” said Daniel McFarland, Ph.D. of the College of Business Administration faculty at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. “It’s the responsibility of an organization’s data management group to work within that organization to select and implement information solutions that support the business.”  His emphasis was on the word “information”.

“EIM is bridging the gap between computers and businesses. To be effective, companies must understand that data and information have an impact on people, on how people do their jobs, how the users interface with others and the impact of information usage on businesses and society,” says McFarland.

Since Enterprise Information Management has been part of the information systems scene only since the 1970s, it often attracts professionals leaving other fields touched by downsizing and cutbacks. It is a broad discipline that historically has drawn on many bodies of knowledge: computer science, management policy and strategy, organizational theory and industrial psychology.  These disciplines all contribute to the use of information as central to the success of an organization, which is the rationale for the existence of EDM.

With the continual refinement of Enterprise Information Management concepts and techniques, the challenge of finding the right organization to provide a company with excellent education / training in the field is high.  Those who study trends in professional education recommend closely examining the curriculum offered by a training company before choosing one, especially in this fairly new area for education and training organizations.  An institution that is worth considering as your EIM training partner should focus on the delivery of established EIM concepts, teach the analytical skills used in EDM, incorporate critical thinking, problem identification and solving, oral and written communication and have a firm understanding of the business rationale behind the use of information and technology within changing organizations.

Instructors at worthwhile EIM training companies should be experienced data management professionals and they should maintain currency with the discipline’s advancements, by learning new concepts and applying them through practice as a consultant in their areas of focus.   Most organizations that deliver information systems oriented education / training focus on tools and more tangible courses (database administration, programming, networking) and consider Enterprise Information Management education as a sideline with only one or two courses.  There are a few organizations that devote their consulting and training practices to Enterprise Data Management, and these should be the first companies that you investigate when searching for EIM training.

In the 21st century, data (raw facts) and information (data used in appropriate context) will be the center of most organizations, giving additional credence to the need for excellence in training data management professionals in organizations large and small.  By educating their EIM staff in proper Enterprise Information Management (logical data modeling, logical process modeling, metadata management, data warehousing and decision support, data governance and stewardship, enterprise architecture, etc…) a company can establish a focus and structure to the design, analysis and delivery of robust and stable systems, and to the empowerment of their user communities.

In the final analysis, if Enterprise Information Management is to succeed as a robust function, companies must develop the professionals charged with the management of the data resource.  Since most universities do not teach Enterprise Information Management, it is doubly important that organizations select the best 3rd-party training in EIM, one that strives to reflect the analysis of data and information as central to the proper management of the organization as a whole.  As data managers, database administrators and business analysts, become knowledgeable about the EIM curricula at the many companies who offer information systems education / training and choose those that focus on Enterprise Information Management in both teaching and in practice.

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