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Value Of Information: Three Decision Criteria -- And Applicability To Cloud Services

Would you like to learn a secret about how to be more successful in the coming year? Either personally, or as a manager or professional?
 
OK, this trashy "come-on"  is only justified because it's almost year end (2012), and time for lots of management how-tos, especially "how to cope with information overload".  Most of the advice is common sense, and if we are very disciplined, might even help us to be more effective.
 
But how about some advice that might actually work?  
 
This blog post is about managing more effectively by considering the cost and utility of information.  So much of our work every day is spent wrestling with information management,  And information has a whole lifecycle, from identification of need, to acquisition, usage, curation and even secure destruction.  In fact, much of common sense management advice is about better information management.  (It's not for nothing that computers and software are collectively known as "information technology".)
So, here's a focus on better information management from the point of view of the "cost and utility of information".  You can think of this approach as concerning "information economics".  Now there is lots and lots written on information economics, although not much of it gets into common business discourse.  The discussion here doesn't really address overall "information economics", because we are only looking at one side of the information economics equation, which is the "demand side", and specifically around the "value or benefit of information".
 
You can see below a "mini-poster" concerning three key aspects of the value of information.
 
But it's worth a quick side-bar on the background for this information.  When your host worked for IDC as a research analyst in Canada, before moving into a front-line technology sales role, he was involved in promoting on a research report on the subject of Office Automation, (the subject of the market analysis will give you a clue as to the era).  The report did not sell as well as the team hoped; the framework presented here was first explored in the context of that situation.  What might seem obvious in retrospect (for example that an "office automation purchase decision" was not a logically independent, but mostly dependent on existing infrastructure choices) was not so obvious a priori.  But with the application of the few simple rules shown here, the selection of saleable reports (later nailed), would have been a snap!
 
To emphasize, the focus here is only on value or benefit of information, especially as driven by the primary use case for information, which is decision making.  A full understanding of the price of information requires also looking at the cost of information production, information supply options, and the interactions between the two which constitute (sometimes) a "market for information".
 
What's a quick takeaway for managing information overload?  "Information is not free, so consider carefully the value of the information to you.  You might identify situations where you can save yourself some time by buying information instead of trying to "reinvent the wheel", or alternatively saving money acquiring information via open source methods, or alternatively, saving time and money by deciding that you "already have enough information" in support of any decisions.
 
Cloud Bonus Idea:  Consider applying these rules, and other rules of information economics, to cloud opportunities and business process outsourcing!  What are businesses and consumers willing to pay for?  The idea of product or service is often clear; not so clear is the value of information.  And a signficant part of what cloud service and BPO providers are presenting to the market place is related to information.  
 
If you are in this situation, does your offering stand up when exposed to the rules shown here?
 
 
This item is cross-posted to Stand-Up Sales, Decision Models' sister site.  V 1.1.