Effective Information Management – defining your information requirements

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Matthew West, Technical Lead, National Digital Twin Programme, introduces a video on the 7 circles of Information Management and Process Model Information Requirements.

Join Matthew and Al Cook, a member of the technical team of the NDTp and an expert in data integration activities and information security, as they take you through key elements of the Information Management Framework and detail a new approach to effective information management. 

A video is available to view below, with a live Q&A session from 10:00 to 10:30 on Thursday 15 July 2021.

Access to quality and well-managed information in organisations is key to support decision making and optimise outcomes at all levels. Decisions based on poor quality information, or no information at all, can significantly increase the risk of mistakes or even disasters.

Systematically implementing information management ensures the ability to deliver the right information to the right decision-makers, at the right time. It is a critical success factor for the National Digital Twin (NDT), an ecosystem of connected Digital Twins where high-quality data is shared securely, on a massive scale to improve decision making across the UK.

The “7 circles of Information Management”: developing the Information Management Framework

The Information Management Framework (IMF), a collection of open, technical and non-technical standards, guidance and common resources, is intended to enable better information management and information sharing at a national scale and provide the building blocks to be (re)used by those wishing to be part of the NDT.


The scope of the IMF is broad and the “7 circles diagram” that I introduce in the video below is a pragmatic way to divide the Information Management space into areas of concern that can be addressed separately as well as supporting each other. It is intended to help identify areas and associated NDTp deliverables that are of particular relevance to you.

The technical aspects of the IMF may come first to your mind. On top of “information transport” mechanisms, together with authorisation and security protocols, to ensure that information can be accessed seamlessly, the NDT needs a language, an inter-lingua, so that data can be shared consistently and used to support decisions without requiring any further “data wrangling”. To develop this common language (the NDT’s ontology) the team is pursuing a principled approach, deeply grounded in mathematics and science to ensure that it is as extensible and all-encompassing as possible. This is what the deepest circles of the 7 circles diagram are about.

There is, however, much more to the Information Management Framework than the purely technical aspects, and as part of the highest circles of the 7 circles diagram, we are developing guidance on how to systematically improve information management so that producing data that meets the quality standards required to be part of the NDT becomes part of “business as usual”.


A first step towards better information management: defining your information requirements

This means that while the NDT’s ontology is being developed, steps can be taken to work towards better information management. Organisations need to reach a point of recognition that there is a need to address data quality in a way that enables improved decisions within their own business and with those they have data-based relationships with. And defining Information Requirements (the second circle in the stack) is a key starting point.

Process Model based Information Requirements

Too often, information requirements are incomplete or even absent in organisations, with the implication that if requirements are not identified and agreed there is no reason that they would be met. As part of the second circle of the “7 circles diagram”, the team has released a paper outlining the proposed approach to developing information requirements, based on the analysis of process models. This is a novel approach, ensuring the systematic identification of information needed (no more, no less) to support decisions and to identify where it is captured.

I encourage you to watch Al Cook’s presentation in the second part of the video to find out more about this approach.

The team and I hope to share more detailed guidance on information management in the near future, helping you to assess your organisation’s current information management maturity, prioritise areas for obvious improvements in decision-making and start addressing them, so that mistakes can be avoided and better outcomes achieved.

And as we continue to further develop the Information Management Framework, we look forward to accompanying you through the discovery of other circles among the 7 circles of Information Management.

This video contains an introduction to the 7 circles of Information Management presented by Matthew West followed by a presentation by Al Cook on a suggested approach to define information requirements. Al and Matthew look forward to answering your questions and talking about next steps in a live Q&A session on the DT Hub, on the 15/07 from 10:00 to 10:30.



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