- We need to know what our organisation does
- We need to know what products and services we provide
- We need to know what assets we manage
- We need to know who we are and who our stakeholders are
- We need to know what type of records and documents we use
- We need to know what systems are used to create and manage information
- We need to know what laws and regulations affect our business
- We need to know how all of this is connected and mapped
This knowledge can be likened to the DNA of an organization. It’s a powerful analogy. In life DNA comprises simple elements (nucleotides) which are combined in multiple different structures called genes. Genes provide living organisms with the instructions they need to develop and function. And the genome is the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information.
The info Genome is a documented map of your entire organisation. The difference between this map and data mapping is that the info Genome is proactive, created in anticipation of feeding current and future information systems, whereas data mapping (as required by FRCP) is reactive, created in response to discovery requirements.
In practice the info Genome is a database of terms, assets, people, organisations, subjects, domains, legislation etc. Along with their metadata and their relationships. In effect all of the elements we need to build metadata schema, taxonomies, retention rules, access and security rules, and workflows.
However it is not strictly a data dictionary per se – because the info Genome documents a wealth of knowledge that goes well beyond metadata, such as privacy, vital records, work processes, legislation and regulations, data stewardship, risk and value assessments etc. Furthermore the info Genome can also capture / retain past knowledge.
The Info Genome is like an organism–growing over time as more knowledge about information assets is gathered.
Not surprisingly the Info Genome is system independent – what we know about our organisations should not be restricted by the technical limitations of any specific information system . Rather its purpose is to inform any / all information systems.
Organisations who have mapped their Info Genome are in a much stronger position to take control of their information assets. Benefits are immediate and include:
- significantly reduced time to create IM structures – taxonomies, metadata models;
- consistent use of terms/values across all information systems supporting federated searching;
- eliminates duplicated effort as the overarching framework can be built/shared by all information professions:- knowledge, records, metadata, information architects;
- relationship mapping identifies opportunities for automation.