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We live in the age of information. As our technological tools advance, so too does our ability to store vast amounts of information about people.

Organisations of all sizes, in all industries, are finding new and more efficient ways to use this information to build business strategies, whilst considering the ethical obligations that come with handling vast amounts personal information about people around the world. As our global digital infrastructure grows, the field of information management is developing fast alongside it.

What is information management?

Information management is, as it sounds - the collection and management of information. This information can come from a range of sources, stored in a variety of formats, and be distributed to more than one audience. Today, information includes both electronic and physical information. The most commonly cited in the modern age is that of digital data. However, the term spans to include paper documents, and other electronic documents such as audio, social, business, and video content.

As a field, information management determines how people and organisations work with this information. This means weighing up the practicalities of how to handle it, as well as taking into account the ethical considerations of managing what is at times sensitive and private information. Information management is an organisation’s responsibility, and needs to be considered not only by the most senior levels of management, but by employees at every position in the company.

Why is information management important?

Information is the life blood of any business or organisation. It helps dictate how businesses form strategies, and implement processes based on them. It is at the heart of business growth, which is why so much effort and resources are pumped into it developing efficient information management systems, and qualified professionals to help implement them. For businesses, improving efficiency and gaining a competitive advantage, means increasing profits!

And of course there’s another side. With access to vast amounts of information comes great responsibility. We share information both voluntarily and involuntary with organisations every day. Organisations are under increasing pressure to handle information responsibly and ethically, and to comply with evolving legal regulations. More transparency is being demanded by people and their governments, therefore managing the information about people that organisations hold is more important than ever, and the need for efficient, safe, and effective Management Information Systems is more pertinent than ever. Failure to comply with these regulations can land businesses in big trouble, with huge fines potentially imposed, which is a further reason why organisations take information management so seriously.

What is a management information system?

The big question is - how to manage to all the information that organisations have access to? Management Information Systems (MISs) have become an integral part of a business’s internal operations. This hardware or software is developed to help us control, store, create, collect, and access huge amounts of information, which can be accessed by employees to help plan and define business strategy. These systems can include tools for managing customer relationships to financial systems to organise invoices and payments.

Businesses of all sizes will to some extent, have an MIS system. Whether it’s as simple as storing customer’s phone numbers, or as complex as building customer profiles based on a range of provided data, an MIS is at the heart of improving an organisations efficiency. Learning how to use this software, evaluate, develop, and improve it is at the heart of many information management qualifications, making graduates sought after employees in nearly any industry.

Careers in information management

As you can imagine, in the age of information, there is no shortage of demand for qualified professionals who know how to operate and manage information systems effectively. Nearly every business and organisation handles information in some way, and must value how important it can be to have the right infrastructure in place to do so.

Graduates of Information Management degrees are equipped with the skills to go on to a range of exciting and rewarding professions in organisations across a range of sectors. Some of the jobs related to the field include: Application analyst, Data analyst, Data scientist, Database administrator, Computer and Information systems manager, IT consultant, IT Technical Support Officer, Systems Manager, Systems Analyst, and Systems Developer.

Graduates are able to appreciate the importance of information management, analyse and evaluate systems currently in place, and implement new strategies for improving an organisation’s processes to increase efficiency.

What are the courses in information management?

Information management is often included in computing and computer sciences degrees, both at bachelor’s and master’s level. Alternatively, some might choose an information systems major as the main focus of their degree. Some of the modules that are included in information management programmes include: Systems Analysis & Design, Database Design & Implementation, and Information Systems in Organisations. Going through key components of information management like this helps develop graduates who are able to apply their learned knowledge to businesses, making them highly sought-after candidates for a number of roles.  

The field of information has expanded dramatically since the dawn of the internet, and looks to grow at an increasingly fevered rate. Information management specialists are therefore sought after by employers worldwide, across all industries. Getting a qualification in the field is certain to open up a vast range of rewarding career paths for ambitious individuals looking to build a skillset for the modern age.

Thinking about entering the profession? Why not consider an online BSc (Hons) in Computing (Information Management) form Arden University.

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