Developing an Information Community

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-27-2014 17:05


Sherri Adame will be speaking at AIIM 2014: Overcoming Change Management Resistance: Creating an Information Community in your Organization. Her session will describe how managing information falls on the shoulders of everyone in your organization. So how do you engage workers to understand how information security policies relate to data standards? How do you keep in touch with what challenges the business has with information? Learn how Premier Farnell started their Information Community for educational and interactive discussions. Get tips and steps for how you can start one at your organization.

In this short overview she will provide a proven process for developing an Information Community.

Sherri Adame, Director Information Governance for Premier Farnell, works as a data and information evangelist in her organization. She is defining standards, pushing the data metrics to be related to costs and dollars and enacting data and information governance where there has been none before. In the last year, she has established an Information Community that has regular educational meetings on data and information practices. 

I love community. I love attending data and information-related conferences because it’s a 

community of people that are as passionate about data as I am. People just like me that dream of delivering big data to drive the right decisions at the right time to positively impact the bottom line. If you are one of the big data dreamers you must attend AIIM 14 for the strategies to transform information into action.

At the conference I will deliver a practical plan to bring home the community and embed it into your organization. It’s definitely not an overnight process. It takes time and energy to create a community of “I care a lot about Information” people in your organization. It starts with taking small steps to educate and inform and then hop to collaboration. A community by nature is filled with like-minded individuals that can share and collaborate.

The first step to any Information Community is to identify the like-minded individuals that should be a part of the community. It can be as simple as asking HR to pull a list of individuals that have the word data or information in their title or by completing a set of stakeholder interviews to determine who should be a part of the community. The key is finding the right people in your organization that care about the data. It is very difficult to create a community if the people don’t care about it.

The second step is to establish a forum for bringing the community together. The forum can be virtual or face-to-face. It is the place the community come together to learn and grow. Once the forum is identified, a communication plan or process needs to be established. Communication needs to be consistent and reliable and planned in advance. Enlist help of a creative person to make what could be a “dull” topic interesting.

Finally, a list of related topics to baseline understanding and start the community off on the right foot are required. The first topics educate the community. During the first six to 12 months establish correct terminology by reviewing what means what. Include a look at how technology supports the data/information and best practices described. A data term can used 1,000 different ways and the general populous could incorrectly assume the acronym for meta-data management is MDM. Review concepts, technology, and terminology to baseline understanding of community member.

Remember, community is hard work. If no one asks a question at the end of the educational session – do not be discouraged. Count the number of people that attend. If it’s increasing, that is a good sign. Pay attention to the ripple effect the community has the participants. You may find that an always-silent participant may have her team build a data quality dashboard without your help. It could be that you are getting more phone calls or connect more of the data dots for people. Passion and excitement for data and information can be contagious. When the opportunity presents itself have the members present a topic or case study. A successful community will become self-sustaining.

For a list of topics, building the second year agenda and beyond, you have to come to the AIIM Conference. I hope to see you and your team there and share in your excitement for information as a part of the AIIM conference community.

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