Is Information as a Strategic Resource a Misnomer?

Information is dead, long live information! It seems that information is continuously fighting the battle for acknowledgement; acknowledgement for being a discipline, acknowledgement for being a resource, acknowledgement for not being equal to IT (i.e. information technology)

and acknowledgement for being the lifeblood of an organization, the glue that binds the execution of business processes together and ensuring enhanced decision making.

Organisations declare information as a strategic resource and therefore information needs to be managed as one.  Information is highlighted as one of five strategic resources, these being human resources, finance, materiél, logistics and information.  One perspective on these resources is that:

The human resource provides an organization the knowledge and the power to do things;

Finances provide the organization with buying power;

Materiél and logistics ensure operational power; with

Information as the enabling power to execute business processes and to make decisions.

True to human kind and equally true to the mechanics of any organization, all (resources) are equal, but some are just more equal than others.  Considering the common notion that certain personnel or organization groupings is more important than another, the question is then which of these resources are more equal than others.

Consider the case of a factory producing food stuffs.  Who is the most important; the salesmen or the marketing department or the manufacturing personnel or the food quality technician or the finance department or the nightshift cleaning staff…?  Let’s consider a bank.  If a bank’s business is money (being it the physical money, product or service) shouldn’t the larger part of the bank work with money? However, only the tellers (normally to few of them, especially on a Saturday morning), a couple of supervisors and the security men actually physically handle money, the rest work with information about money and related products and services.

For an organization to be successful it needs to have credible information available regarding all its resources all the time; successful here being considered as being able to fulfil its role and reach its objectives.  The information about resources needs to be coupled the information contained in plans, orders and instructions, according to which control information will be used to establish compliance and performance.

Materiél on its own will achieve nothing, and organizational capability on its own will achieve nothing.  Money on its own will come to nothing.  People on their own will come to something due to the fact that they have to survive.  However, bind all these resources together by means of a flow of information regarding purpose, objectives, expectations and resources available will result in the achievement of set expectations.

Information is not a misnomer, it is, in my humble opinion the most powerful enabling resource ever.  It is not more important that any other resource, it is an integral part of all resources and therefore of utmost importance to integrative management and optimum organizational functioning.

Dr CJH (Johan) Coetzee dated 01/05/2019