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Integrated GIS technology solutions: Information Supply Chains and Information Flow Modeling

Author: Magik Minds
by Magik Minds
Posted: Sep 16, 2022

Integrated GIS technology solutions (if you haven’t read it, please go here first) I stressed the importance of taking an information-centric approach to business transformation and new technology projects. Why you might ask? Excellent question. Because while most organizations have IT, only 16% of them achieve transformation with it. There is a large movement afoot for Enterprise Information Management, Information Asset Management, Master Data Management, Data Governance, and more. As the names imply, data and information are at the core of all these methodologies. However, most utilities still approach these projects from an information technology perspective without enough attention on the information. Because of this, most of these efforts result in unactionable technical reports that effectively leveled entire forests and the core problems remain:

Business executives struggle to execute transformational strategies

Boards are unable to assess & mitigate technical risk

Finance teams are unable to contribute to technical business cases

IT experts have difficulty establishing/communicating the value/impact of a project on the business

Executive leaders are forced into a position of becoming reluctant followers of IT rather than drivers of business transformation

A Change in Perspective Integrated GIS technology solutions

Let’s back up and take a broad view of a utility. It is not hard to see that information is the lifeblood of any organization, and utilities are no exception. Information is fundamental to each and every process. Whether it is taking customer calls or installing facilities in the field, information is the driver. With this in mind, it is helpful to look at the utility information ecosystem as a series of interconnected Information Supply Chains. In the world of physical assets, "a supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer."[1] If we take this definition and modify it slightly, we can define an Information Supply Chain as a model of your organization’s information flow. It connects every asset (information, process, system, person) to the purpose it is supporting. It is the flow of data and information through your business in support of business outcomes. Ultimately, your Information Supply Chains convert data and information into actionable insights so you can more effectively:

Manage your network

Serve your customers

Comply with regulations

Compete in the marketplace

Information Flow Modelling

Now that we have a concept of what an Information Supply Chain is and what this view of our organization can provide, I will show you how to model it. An Information Flow Model is a graphical representation of the flow of data through an information system or organization. It is roughly composed of inputs, actions that systems and people perform on the information, and outputs. We use a simple "language" to model this, as depicted below. As can be seen, actions create information which in turn support actions and so on. People or systems can perform these actions. Systems can support people and supply and store information.

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Author: Magik Minds

Magik Minds

Member since: Jul 04, 2022
Published articles: 4

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