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Information management - mission critical

Information management: Mission critical

The ‘Information Management: Mission Critical’ report suggests that despite dealing with huge amounts of data in today’s workplace, little progress has been made in the past twenty years in terms of embedding information management into the organisational strategy of businesses in the UK.

About the report

In December 2014, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) commissioned Linda Berube to undertake a “small-scale research project”. The purpose of this project was to:

  • Review the CILIP list of Key Published Information Management (IM) Resources.
  • Assess it for evidence of trends in the interest and impact of strategic information management in organisations.

This report of the research is one of the deliverables of the CILIP Information Management Project, the objective of which is for “CILIP to provide an offer to the UK information management (IM) community that is as good and integral to CILIP as other library, information and knowledge sectors and to establish its footprint in the cluster of IM focused organisations”.

The context

We are all information machines. We create it every day, and if our work involves using computing devices of any kind, most likely every minute of our working day. If we cannot fathom the amount of information – visible and invisible – we produce, then others have attempted it for us:

  • The digital universe is likely to grow 40% a year into the next decade.
  • Every two years it doubles in size.
  • Data will increase by 2020 to 44 zettabytes or 44 trillion gigabytes.(1)

But who are the custodians for all this information? Here, we have a bit of a problem:

“By 2015, 4.4 million jobs globally will be needed to cope with big data, but only a third of those jobs will be filled.” (2)


“The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.” (3)

Key findings

Key findings from the report:

  • There has been little improvement in the understanding of information as a strategic resource in 20 years – but digital universe growing rapidly at 40% per year
  • High financial value attributed to the increased level of performance & reduced costs brought about by information opportunity
  • Organisations tend to focus on negative implications such as security problems

The report has found that organisations will worry about limiting risk and may introduce strategies to act on threats or issues; however IM by nature must be ongoing, proactive and inherently harnessed to the objectives of the organisation. It requires an investment in information management skills and a change from a culture of ‘information risk’ to one of ‘information opportunity’.

1 From The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich data and the increasing value of the Internet of Things. EMC/IDC, 2014. Available at:
2 From Linden, Alexander et al.(2014). Major Myths about Big Data’s Impact on Analytics. Gartner. Access available by subscription or for a fee at:
3 From Manyika, James et al.(2011). Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. McKinsey Global Institute. Available at: big_data_the_next_frontier_for_innovation

Information Management: mission critical
Information Management: Key issues from CILIP research report

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