Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 18, 2006


In my essay last week, "The 4 Stages of IRM Growth," I described a maturity model which characterized how I.T. organizations evolve over time. After listening to it, one might say, "Okay, it sounds great; now how do we get there?" Herein, I will describe the infrastructure required to support an IRM organization. To do so, I need to first review the basic premise of Information Resource Management. IRM is the design, development and control over all of the resources needed to produce Information. IRM is ultimately based on a simple formula:

Information = Data + Processing

In a nutshell, data represents the facts about the business; processing represents how the facts are accessed and made available, and; information represents the intelligence needed to support the actions and decisions of the business. If the data remains the same, but the processing is changed, the information will change. Conversely, if the processing remains the same, and the data is changed, the information will also change. This implies the need for controlling and reusing the resources needed to produce information. It also implies there are three classes of information resources:

Data Resources: Data Elements, Records, Files, Inputs, Outputs, Data Bases

System Resources: Systems, Business Processes (sub-systems), Procedures, Programs, Modules

Enterprise Resources: Enterprises, Business Functions, Jobs, Human/Machine Resources

This last class is important as it represents the "consumer" of information and will also participate in the flow of information.

For additional information on the concept of Information Resource Management, see: No. 12 - "Understanding the IRM/MRP Analogy" - Feb 21, 2005


The three classes of information resources ultimately represents three types of work effort:

Enterprise Engineering- to model and study the business and formulate an enterprise information strategy. Such work is performed by "Enterprise Engineers."

Systems Engineering - to design and develop system resources to satisfy information requirements. This work is performed by "Systems Engineers" (concerned with the overall system architecture) and "Software Engineers."

Data Base Engineering - to design and develop data resources to satisfy information requirements. This work is performed by "Data Engineers" (logical DB design), DBA's (physical DB design), and Data Communications Engineers.

These three areas complement each other and provides for synergy between them. It also establishes an interesting set of checks and balances. For example, Enterprise Engineering will ultimately determine the need for Systems and Data Base Engineering projects. Systems Engineering will identify application-level "objects" for incorporation into the enterprise Data Base model. And Data Base Engineering supports Enterprise Engineering by tracking the objects needed to run the business. The point is, the three areas are designed to be compatible and work as separate by equal partners.


Historically, Information Technology organizations have not been in the mainstream of corporate management and has typically been delegated to an administrative or financial area of the company. This stems from the fact that the computer was initially used to support accounting activities in companies.

The I.T. Director is typically three levels down from the executive policy level of the enterprise. Under this scenario, policy is dictated without consideration or participation by the I.T. organization. Also understand I.T. is very "physically" inclined as they only support physical devices such as computers and communication equipment. The thought of total systems and integrated data bases on an enterprise-wide basis is lost on most I.T. organizations. In other words, the "logical" dimension for developing and managing information resources is seldom considered.

For more information on the differences between Logical and Physical, see: No. 23 - "Using Logical Models as Templates" - May 09, 2005


Unlike the classic I.T. organization described earlier, the IRM Organization begins at a higher level with a Chief Information Officer (CIO) as an integral part of the executive management team for determining corporate strategies. Like the COO and CFO, the CIO is a legal officer of the company and speaks with the same authority, if not more so, than the other officers. Whereas the COO deals with corporate operations and the CFO manages financial resources, the CIO must provide information support for the whole company. The term "CIO" has been around since the early 1980's and, unfortunately, has not been universally applied with this level of authority. Too often, the title of CIO is synonymous with nothing more than "I.T. Director." In truth, the CIO represents the chief information architect/strategist of the company.

The CIO is primarily supported by three managers representing the three types of information resources: an Enterprise Resource Manager, a Systems Resource Manager, and a Data Resource Manager. An Operations Manager is also provided for hardware installation and maintenance.

Reporting to the CIO as a staff position is a Quality Assurance Manager who overseas all IRM activity and enforces policy. This position is unlike the typical quality control position as known in today's I.T. organizations. Instead of being regarded as a clerical burden, the Q.A. group is viewed as industrial engineers to the IRM assembly lines, constantly looking for new and improved ways to expedite the development and control of information resources. In this capacity, they are continually looking for new techniques and tools to be used.

The IRM Engineer has the triple role of standards analysis, inspector and technology advisor. Project Administration polices project management and works closely with the Technical Librarian who maintains project and IRM related documentation, both current and historical. The IRM Training Coordinator provides a curriculum to continuously sharpen IRM related skills. As such, the coordinator administers the Skills Inventory for the organization.

At this point you might believe that creating an IRM quality assurance group is creating additional overhead. Just the reverse will occur; it will reduce overhead and bring development costs down while the quality of information resources will soar. In most organizations, the systems analysts and programmers do this work now (at least they are supposed to). By centralizing the function, it can be handled more effectively by a dedicated group. As a result, the analysts and programmers can concentrate on their primary responsibilities.


The reason why the IRM infrastructure hasn't come to fruition in most companies is because of corporate management's attitudes toward the value of information and the faith they have in their staff's ability to produce it. A lot of this requires simple education. Only when executives begin to think of information as a strategic weapon will companies then begin to mature into a robust IRM organization.


We have created full functional descriptions of each of the IRM functions described herein and put it on the Internet as part of our "PRIDE" Methodologies for IRM web page at:

PRIDE" users have found these descriptions an excellent means to develop full job descriptions. I hope they can serve you as well.

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is... "We must apply the same discipline, organization and automation that we recommend for other parts of the company."


Friends, the "PRIDE" Methodologies for Information Resource Management (IRM) is a common sense solution for Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, and Project Management. The methodologies include defined work breakdown structures, deliverables, and review points that promote quality and the production of industrial-strength information systems. Building information resources is a science, not an art form. Our methodologies clearly explain the concepts that govern them, which remarkably, is derived from engineering/manufacturing practices. Now you can get these acclaimed methodologies for free at our corporate web site at:


I've been surfing the Internet for many years now and have seen a lot of things, everything from simple static web pages to some very sophisticated and dynamic web sites. Recently I have been helping to startup a new VoIP company (Voice over IP) which I'm sure I'll be talking about in future broadcasts. Nonetheless, this new project has caused me to look at Internet shopping carts and there are some very slick ones out there. What I found interesting was the company web pages themselves. And I have to admit they look very elegant from a web design perspective. But I've noticed its no longer easy to find the answers to the questions I had. For example, I want to see a description of the product, its technical specifications, pricing, a sample demo, perhaps some user endorsements, a price list, and contact information. Unfortunately, I found I had to dig rather hard to find all of this, particularly price lists and contact information. Further, most web pages today include some rather small sized fonts which are difficult to read. I realize I can expand the font sizes by adjusting some settings on my web browser, but very few people do this. Between the small font sizes and the difficult navigation, a consumer can become easily exhausted and frustrated simply by surfing the Net. In other words, these web pages may be technically elegant but they are missing the boat in terms of being able to sell their product. I found this rather ironic, particularly for shopping cart packages.

I am often kidded by younger web designers about the web pages I design; they consider it old-fashioned and definitely not state of the art. And perhaps they are correct. I try to keep things up to date, but you know what? People have no problem navigating my pages, finding what they want, and have no problem reading the content. In other words, by keeping it simple, I'm not trying to wear out my audience. My web pages may not be state of the art, but at least they work and I've received no complaints.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.


Folks, be sure to check out our eBook entitled, "The Bryce is Right! Empowering Managers in today's Corporate Culture." This is a frank and candid description of the state of the art in management and includes essays on the problems in management today, along with some pragmatic advice on how to deal with them. Basically, this is a condensed course in management. As such, it is suited for managers, either those aspiring to become a manager or for those who need a refresher course. It will also be of interest to young people entering the work force, and is excellent for college curriculums.

Charles Cole of Lyndhurst, OH, said it is a "Very interesting book. Good work! It reminds me of some of the early works I read by W. Edwards Deming. Too bad the American corporate gurus of his day didn't pay him heed."

And Wolf Hager of Fort Myers, FL, says it is "A very impressive publication which requires careful reading and reminds me somewhat of Peter Drucker."

The price is just $20 plus tax. For more information on our book or to order on-line, see:

We have also produced a new one-day training program of the same name. For more information on both the eBook and course, please visit our web site at:

While there, look for our MS PowerPoint presentation describing both the book and the training program.


I received an e-mail from a Judy Thurman in New Jersey who wrote me regarding last week's essay, "The 4 Stages of IRM Growth."

Judy writes:

"What you are describing in your podcast is a trend towards technology and away from management. Why is that?"

Thanks Judy for your note,

Good question. I guess we have always had a fascination in technology as we believe it gives us a competitive advantage by easing our lives of administrative burdens. This trend seems to have accelerated over the last few decades with the advent of the PC and its many uses. What disturbs me is that while the role of technology has sharply increased, management has diminished. We seem to no longer watch the basics and genuinely believe the latest gizmo will solve all of our problems. Instead of managing our way through a problem, we tend to hack away at things. This disturbs me greatly.

It is also harder to manage these days as managers have to be more politically correct. I can't begin to tell you the many managers I have met out there who are extremely frustrated; and I am describing managers from just about all walks of like. On the one hand they are under extreme pressure to produce results, and on the other, they have to be politically correct when working with their employees. Trust and loyalty appears to be shattered and as a result you see a lot of micromanagement these days.

Again, thanks for your e-mail. Keep those cards and letters coming.

MBA is an international management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management. We offer training, consulting, and writing services in the areas of Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, Project Management, Methodologies and Repositories. For information, call us at 727/786-4567. For a complete listing of my essays, see the "PRIDE" Special Subject Bulletins section of our corporate web site.

Our corporate web page is at:

Management Visions is a presentation of M. Bryce & Associates, a division of M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. The program is produced on a weekly basis and updated on Sundays. It is available in versions for RealPlayer, Microsoft Media Player, and MP3 suitable for Podcasting. See our web site for details. You'll find our broadcast listed in several Podcast and Internet Search engines, as well as Apples' iTunes.

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Copyright © 2006 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

This is Tim Bryce reporting.

Since 1971: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."



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