What is an Information Management System (IMS)?

Living in the era of information, you probably cannot imagine running your business without access to reliable data. Knowing — this is the driving force of every business activity. If you are able to obtain up-to-date information pertinent to your organizational context, your company is likely to benefit from it substantially by, for instance, improving day-to-day operations or facilitating a variety of business processes. Still, you need to handle the information, store data, make it properly structured and channeled, so that you can use it effectively and efficiently. This is why companies invest in information management systems (IMS). What is an IMS and why exactly does it come in handy? Let’s have a closer look at the topic.

30 June 2022

Victor Marco

5 min

Blog / Business Growth

Victor Marco Author

Victor Marco

The definition of Information Management System

Generally speaking, an IMS refers to any software that serves the purpose of facilitating data and information management, i.e. making such aspects as storing, organizing, retrieving and distributing information more efficient.

What are the features of IMS?

Although an IMS is a multi-faceted concept, its core operations include:

Collecting

Gathering information is a vital component of any business activity. It helps identify customers (by obtaining customer data), measure their engagement in the business interaction with a company, get details concerning any transaction that is carried out or determine the level of customer satisfaction.

Storing

If information is to be accessible to stakeholders, it needs to be kept in a given storage unit, which can be either a hard drive or a server, or cloud storage offering greater flexibility and convenience, since information can be accessed through the Internet.

Processing

Processing is about manipulating data in order to get useful and relevant information. The process involves acquiring data and transforming it into different formats, as well as organizing, presenting and sharing it with other user groups.

Distributing

The main focus of this process is to deliver information to various stakeholders involved in the business activity with a given organization so that they can evaluate its quality or use it for executive purposes.

Accessing

Information needs to be accessible in order to fuel business activity and facilitate decision-making. Providing information in suitable formats enables stakeholders to — depending on the level of authorisation they are granted — access the relevant content and act upon it.

What are the benefits of IMS?

The implementation of an IMS can be very advantageous for your company. First, it can lead to an increase in efficiency and the improvement of services. Managers and executives — by accessing a single database compiling information from a wide range of sources — are able to make well-informed decisions, which, in turn, may significantly influence the way they solve problems and handle business-related issues. What is more, having a set of useful tools such as employee performance records or revenue reports helps companies determine their strengths and weaknesses and spot areas for improvement. This may contribute to the development of both small and larger businesses, as their leaders are more likely to devise effective strategies for future growth, increase employee productivity, facilitate collaboration and communication, boost sales figures, improve customer experience and achieve other business goals.

Disambiguating between meanings

There are terms that constitute a hierarchical subset of information management systems and are thus often confused with one another. Such terms include a management information system, a knowledge management system, a marketing information system, or computer science. The reason for the general confusion lies in the fact that, to put it simply, their major assumptions overlap and relate to the concepts that all stem from the same underlying principles. We are not going to go into detail at this point, as the topic is very broad and complex. What we can do though is to have a brief look at some of those terms in a brave attempt to grasp the major differences.

Management information systems (MIS)

A management information system is a type of a computerized information system used in a company to gather data from a variety of available sources, coordinate, control and analyze it and make it accessible in a readable format. The predominant goal of an MIS in the business context is to increase the profits and value of a given company by providing its managers, executives and other decision makers with detailed information concerning the whole area of their operational activity. From the historical perspective, there are 5 successively occurring eras of MIS. Each of them is determined by and bear characteristics of a given period of technological advancement, and embraces as much innovation and development as possible at the time. It all started from large computers offering employees costly access to computing power, then went through the phase marked by less expensive personal computers, developed into enterprise computing enabled by high speed networks and finally anchored in the era of cloud computing, with all its flexibility, availability, and convenience.

Knowledge management systems (KMS)

KMS refers to any IT system that is designed to implement the main principles of knowledge management, which is basically to retain the collective knowledge of a given organization and make sure the information is available whenever necessary. Using KMS software can assist you in handling documentation and keeping it up-to-date, finding sources of knowledge, measuring how it flows, promoting better collaboration across teams and providing them with the right content when they need it.

Making the most of information technology

Information management systems can be invaluable help when it comes to discovering and exploiting the full potential of your business. In order to enter the world of information technology that fuels change and development, you need to make sure your employees know how to use multiple tools and how to successfully navigate the systems with the aim of continually improving the way they attend to their tasks. Having a knowledgeable and skilful support team is definitely a huge step towards a better future and sustainable growth, regardless of whether you have a small business or lead a large enterprise.

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