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Infonomics - what is it and why should I care?

There’s a lot of talk about Infonomics at the moment – largely fuelled by the explosion in digital transformation initiatives and the resulting imperative that organisations leverage more value from their digital assets, especially their data.

Infonomics or Datanomics? It doesn’t matter.

First off, let me say that when talking about Infonomics, there is no tangible difference between information and data. In fact, I suspect the only reason we’re talking about ‘Infonomics’ as opposed to ‘Datanomics’ is because the former sounds a bit better and ‘information’ has traditionally been considered more valuable than data (you turn data into information, etc.)

However, certainly in this context, I find any discussion about the difference between information and data to be a waste of time and we can happily consider the two terms interchangeable.

Besides, we have much bigger fish to fry!

Why Infonomics MUST matter to every business.

I must say, I find it woefully irresponsible that the subject of ‘information’ is still largely absent from so many Board and Management meetings.

I suspect the reason for such oversight comes down to a combination of ignorance, combined with the fact that you can’t touch and feel information.

Compare that to physical assets that are not only visible to the naked eye, they’re also visible on our asset registers and balance sheets. They’re also measured - and as we’ve all been taught, what gets measured gets managed.

But one thing that even the most archaic Board appreciates is that the majority of their company’s value can no longer be found on the Balance Sheet. Instead, it comes from their intangible assets like (you’ve guessed it) their information and data.

So if we follow the logic, in simple terms, this means that most of the value of the company isn’t being measured or managed. That’s a scary thought and if I were a shareholder (or even an employee) of such a company, I’d be demanding action.

Enter Infonomics.

Infonomics 101 – the economics of information & data.

Infonomics is a term first coined by Douglas Laney when he was at Gartner…

“Infonomics is the theory, study and discipline of asserting economic significance to information. It strives to apply both economic and asset management principles and practices to the valuation, handling and deployment of information assets.”

Mr. Laney’s proposition is a simple one – that we need to pay a lot more attention to our information; in particular, that we need to go beyond simply “thinking and talking about information as an asset to actually valuing and treating it as one”.

In his book, he then provides us with 300 pages of tutelage about how we might go about measuring, managing and monetising our corporate information for competitive advantage.

No question, it’s the definitive guide to Infonomics and, in my humble opinion, an essential read (certainly well worth the humble ‘entry fee’).

However – and this is a complement by the way – it’s a bit frustrating because it’s leaves you wanting more.

It’s analogous to reading a good book on how to surf - the book just gives you the ideas and the hunger to get out there and catch some waves! But in order to do that, you still need to get out there and find some waves and a decent surfboard.

And so the same is true here – first you’ll need to look within your organisation and pick the right ‘waves’ - and then you’ll need the practical stuff (the ‘board’).

The practical application of Infonomics.

In my next post I’m going to explain how you can take Mr. Laney’s insights and start to practically apply them in your organisation.

In the meantime, why not head over to Amazon and order yourself a copy of the book.

Catch ya next time - when we’ll start looking at the practical application of Infonomics.


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