A study of the factors that influence the perceptions of strategic information value in major UK based organisations
It has been argued for many years that if applied effectively, information can be a valuable organisational resource; indeed, many contend that it is the lifeblood of the organisation. This view is supported by the academic literature, which identifies a wide range of factors that influence perceptions of strategic information value. For example, information quality and information accessibility have both been widely discussed. The use of information for enabling organisational change in organisations, for marketing activities, and for strategic planning have also been the subject of academic investigation. However, whilst the literature in this domain is fairly extensive, it is largely theoretical, rather than empirical, in nature and it also tends to be highly fragmented, addressing narrow aspects of value. The primary aim of this study was to undertake a holistic exploration of the factors affecting the perceived value of strategic information, using rigorous empirical methods. Moreover, the research sought to address the question of why organisations typically fail to treat information as a formal asset, even though they perceive it to be valuable resource. To explore these broad objectives, a three-phase approach was adopted combining the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods of research. More specifically, the study commenced with a questionnaire-based survey that was designed to validate the initial conceptual framework. This was followed by a phase of the research, which utilised detailed case studies in eight major UK based commercial organisations, to explore how perceptions of information value were affected by the implementation of data warehouses. The final phase of the study sought to validate the research findings and explore their wider implications, through the utilisation of on-line focus groups. The research project has produced several key findings. It has provided evidence that information accessibility and information quality are critical constructs that impact the perceived value of information. It has confirmed that a number of business activities, such as marketing, are highly dependent on the use of information. It has suggested that improvements in the accessibility and quality of information can lead to the improved effectiveness of these business activities, and that this can lead to the attainment of more substantial measurable business benefits. Finally, the research has also suggested that although most organisations consider information to be valuable, few give serious consideration to formally classing information as an asset, and none appear to measure the value of their information assets. It is believed that this study has made a number of significant contributions to the literature. It has provided a holistic view of the dimensions that can impact the perceived value of strategic information. Most importantly, from an academic perspective, it has produced empirically based evidence on the relationships between a wide-range of dimensions and the perceived value of information, on attitudes to information being considered an asset, and the actions organisations take to measure the value of information assets. It has been argued that without a clear understanding of the value of information, it is difficult to manage it appropriately, and consequently it is also difficult to ultimately attain the value of the information. By providing afar clearer and holistic picture of the factors affecting the value of information, coupled with many important new insights about the management of information, the results of this study should help to ensure that organisations can fully realise the value of their strategic information resources.