A New Economy Needs A New Economics

We hear a lot about the Information Age – defined by Wikipedia as the period in human history we’re living through characterised by the shift from traditional industry to an economy based on information computerisation.

I think few would disagree that this Information Age is what we’re all living in now.

The problem is that we’re proving very inept at the economics side of this reality.

Isn’t it about time, in other words, that we had a way of tracking what information’s value really is? For example, look at the growing gap between the traditional ways we value companies in terms of the tangible and intangible assets reported in financial statements and the value the market puts on them (think, billion dollar Unicorns). In 1975, on average, the tangible assets of a corporation represented 83% of its value – today, that number is 20%.  As a result, more than 50% of merger and acquisition exchanges can’t be satisfyingly accounted for (source: Gartner).

The eye-watering amounts that have been paid for some corporations in recent M&As alone should prove the fact we’re very poor at properly measuring and valuing the information assets of an organisation. But a possible solution has emerged out of work that’s been done at two recent Executive Leadership Council (ELC) summits that AIIM’s convened. (ELC brings together the industry’s top thinkers, vendors, end users and industry analysts twice a year to articulate the impact that new technologies will have on the workplace, and define specific use cases for how the technologies can transform organisations and ways of work.)

You can’t manage what you can’t measure

The intriguing idea here is something the high-level industry ELC veterans dub ‘infonomics,’ a way to start better conceptualising and measuring the value of information assets.

Infonomics is the result of some powerful conversations that ELC members from organisations such as Gartner, Accenture and Shell, as well as a number of vendors and technology suppliers in North America and Europe, had around the problem.

Until we have an effective measurement methodology for valuing data, information, content and knowledge, don’t expect to find ‘information assets’ on the balance sheet anytime soon.

But we need them – which is why new standards of information value measurement are critical.

We agree, and so have set ourselves an organisational goal at AIIM: get infonomics off the ground.

That’s because we’re uniquely positioned to help information professionals deliver outcomes important to their businesses, plus prepare them for an ever-more information-intensive future.

Immediate past President, John Mancini is now Chief Evangelist for AIIM, the global membership organisation for the information management community

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