How much value do you give to your data?

How much value do you give to your data?

The IRMS conference is Europe’s premier event for the records management profession and, whilst much of the content is technical and specific, it’s also a great way to get an overview of trends and themes in information management.

These days, it’s hard to imagine an organisation which isn’t dependent on its information – in all the forms that may include – to be successful.  So these themes are relevant for everyone. To read the full article, click here.

Information as Currency

The stated theme for the conference was “information as currency”.  To me, this makes perfect sense – information can be a store of value, in the same way that money is a store of value.  In the same way, it’s not much use unless you’re actually doing something with it. 

Digitisation of paper records was a common activity to these initiatives, which is unsurprising given that digital information is so much more easily shared and sharing is clearly a vital step to unlocking value. 

Money Stack

Data is Outliving Systems

Interestingly, the lifetime of information is typically longer than the usable life of the systems we use to store it.  For example, you may want to store – or be compelled to store – a digital document for 25 years.  But the typical life of an electronic document management system is 5 years – and I can’t imagine using an EDMS from 25 years ago! 

Cloud is Everywhere

A third recurrent theme was the wide adoption of cloud computing and open source solutions.  I found this striking, given the type of information – key organisational data – being discussed.  Jurisdiction remains a crucial concern, however, as it’s clearly more appropriate to keep some classes of data within the boundaries of your own network.  However, the increasing adoption of mobile working is an accelerating driver towards cloud computing. 


This brings me back to a question which I took away from the conference – just how do you put a value on your information?   A couple of presentations talked about valuing information in line with the investment made in creating the information.  For me, that’s going to be misleading, if not plain wrong.  I view that as “sunk cost” which I can’t recover and it’s unlikely to be a true reflection of the value I can get from that information in the future. 

Some other metrics for information value include the cost to recreate or replace the information if it was lost and the impact of not having it (including potential fines).  However, my favourite valuation is to estimate the opportunity value available within that information. 

But, in the end, it’s clear that the value of organisational information is dependent on the context. 

For a full list of themes discussed at the event, click here.

About Neil Maude

Electronic Document Management General Manager
Tel: 0800 863 8000 | Email: |

Neil joined the Arena Group in 2006 and has almost 20 years of experience in the electronic document management industry, working with both private and public sector customers. 

Neil sits on Arena’s board of directors and manages the delivery operations of Arena’s EDM business.  His team spend their time developing software, implementing solutions for customers and providing after-sales software support services, both in the UK and internationally.