Information Flow March 15, 2017

Information Flow within organisations

Information flows within an organisation, either formally or informally. The free flow of facts, ideas, data and opinions is constant and the lifeblood of any organisation.

Information flows can also result in records being created with all the inherent issues associated with information integrity, accessibility, security and preservation.

Barriers to information flow

Some of the barriers to information flow in organisations include:

  • information isn’t readily available
  • in an era where individuals have access to communication devices and information, but within our workplace there are barriers to accessing information
  • organisational policy and procedures can unintentionally limit access to information and have the potential to limit transparency and decision-making processes, and
  • failure to value the information held within the organisation

Analysing barriers to information flow within our organisations will assist in developing strategies to improve information flow which may also impact on records management. We’ve focussed on one of these barriers and have identified some pathways for overcoming it.

Valuing information

The concept of placing value on information is now a reality for some organisations. It is about the “worth” of the information to the organisation.

“Information passes through many stages before it has value to anyone. It exists first in a latent state, waiting for the right paradigm or perspective, long before anyone recognizes it to be information. Then we realize that raw, unorganized data may be of some use. We collect it, organize it, analyze it and draw conclusions from it. Both the information and our conclusions can be communicated. Only when information has been comprehended, can we value it and respond to it.” (2)

Gartner’s Doug Laney provides six ways to measure the value of your information assets. He divides his methods into financial and non-financial. The non–financial method covers intrinsic, business and performance values of information and the financial methods cover cost, economic and market values. (3)

Another way to assess and measure the value of your information would be to identify the high risk and high value business undertaken by the organisation and the information/records which is required to support business activity. This will allow you to determine the tangible value of this information to the organisation. For further information see our guidance on identifying high value and high risk information

Understanding the value of your information allows you to prioritise and better manage the most valuable information assets in your organisation.


  1. European Journal of ePractice · Nº 12 · March/April 2011 · ISSN: 1988-625X
  2. Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2002), Placing Value on information
  3. Six ways to measure the value of your information assets.


Image credit: Clip Art

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