See things clearly

Hi everybody,

There are many homonyms and synonyms in our working field.

I would like to know from the visitors of this site: when you are talking about Information management, what do you mean with this term?

On the internet one can find different meanings of this term. I wonder which meaning is being used in (your) practice (and which country you come from)

After having read some of your suggestions I'll add a description of what we in The Netherlands usually mean when we use this term.

Thanks in advance!


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ISO/IEC 2382-1:1993 (Edition 3) "Information technology -- Vocabulary -- Part 1: Fundamental terms" from ISO/IEC JTC 1 gives it as "In an information processing system, the functions of controlling the acquisition, analysis, retention, retrieval, and distribution of information."

Whereas ISO 5127:2001 "Information and documentation -- Vocabulary" from ISO/TC 46 gives "planning, control and exploitation of information sources within an institution"

Both these from the useful ISO Concept Database - useful because ISO standards tend to be foundational to so many areas of activity.

The clue to the difference is probably the context (background) of the two sources:
JTC1 does "Standardization in the field of information technology." whereas TC 46 does "Standardization of practices relating to libraries, documentation and information centres, publishing, archives, records management, museum documentation, indexing and abstracting services, and information science."

Reality is that these two meanings cannot be merged without some loss of precision or creation of confusion.  So my conclusion is that (gaining) knowledge of the client's domain is crucial to effective understanding.  Note how "Information technology" is distinguished from "Information science".


Hello Machteld,


Information Management for me in it's broadest sense is actually data management, owned by the business and is about maintaining quality data, a very basic discipline, "garbage in = garbage out".


In a strategic sense, though, Information Management is about presenting the enterprise data in a meaningful form on which strategic decisions can be made to enhance growth, profitability or contain costs or to enable statutory compliance for example.  Some other terms used are "Decision support information" and Business Intelligence.


Hope this helps as unsure as to the context of your question.


Kind regards


To understand the term Information Management it is necessary first to understand the meaning of the two words.


Management is well described as the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives, and measuring results. Management also includes recording and storing information for later use or for others within the organization. Management functions are not limited to managers and supervisors. Every member of the organization has some management and reporting functions as part of their job.


Information is usually created when context is provided to data. Data is composed of discrete facts about events and, in that form, is generally of little management value.  Data and information are constituents in the Data / Information / Knowledge / Wisdom hierarchy.  Information allows managers, perhaps collectively, to learn from experiences so that objectives are achieved in the most economic, effective, efficient and equitable manner.


Information Management is therefore the application of management activities and skills to the acquisition, manipulation and employment of information to the benefit of the organisation.



To my mind, Information Management is about the content rather than the technology.  It involves data (usually numbers) and records (documents, spreadsheets, emails, etc) ensuring that they are properly managed.  Management in this context is appropriate storage, version control, searchability and cleansing to guarantee the integrity and availability of definitive information resources.  There is also a set of governance arrangements to ensure appropriate access and compliance with legal requirements. 

Thank you all very much for your answers so far. Some of the answers are derived from the theory (ISO standards, and Ivor's answer); does that mean the word is not used very often in practice (it is not in the ITIL glossaries, for instance)? 


I promised to tell you what Information Management stands for for a lot of professionals in The Netherlands:


"The name of the strategic processes within the domain of business information management. Information management determines the future of the information provisioning." or "the function within a business organization that deals with formulating policy regarding information provisioning"

Unfortunately "business information management" has a different meaning as well in different countries.


According to this definition Information management includes the activities on the business side / the demand side in which

- the business needs for information are defined (not by IT people but by business people),

- the information architecture is drawn,

- the policy for the future of the information provisioning is formulated (do we need other information systems, are we going to use the internet for reaching our customers, application consolidation issues, etc) and

- the policy regarding the cooperation with business chain partners, suppliers and the way how to organize the information provisioning is formulated.


For some other Dutch professionals, however, information management is an IT activity: how can we supply the business with the information they ask from us.


From the international answers I get that information management seems to be more directly related to data / information only and not to all of the information provisioning. Do you recognize this?


I feel much misunderstanding when we try to communicate with the rest of the world about BiSL (Business information Services Library), Business Information Management (which in our view has nothing to do with Business Intelligence). Therefore we are looking for the better international terms.


Maybe IT demand management may be another more international term for 'our' Business information management. However this is sometimes described from an IT point of view.

In our world Business information management includes all the activities on the business side (the demand side) that are necessary to make sure the business managers have all the information necessaru to run their business. This includes not only Information management (as described above) but operational and tactical activities as well. Like

- defining the business needs and the requirements,

- acceptance testing of customized or standard software,

- answering questions of end users on how to use the information system or the working procedures, 

- asking IT for non-scheduled batch jobs or availability,

- data management, making contracts with IT suppliers,

- writing procedures on how to work with the information systems within the business process,

- project management and control,

- information planning,

- budget planning and control 


From the business point of view only. No (automated) IT.


Any further suggestions to come to an internationally understood vocabulary?


Thanks in advance!!




What I forgot to mention: You can read something about the way we look at this matter in:


Any comments are very welcome !


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