Improvements in the effectiveness of information management in construction organisations
2011-06-02T07:57:33Z (GMT) by
Managing information effectively is crucial for improving processes within organisations. To this end, a more holistic approach is required which aligns the organisations information and technology needs with its people, processes and business model. This should shift the emphasis from collaborating on individual projects to a long term view of how best to support an organisation s business strategy. It also shifts the emphasis from managing information (storing information to exploit it) to managing with information (harnessing information to gain competitive advantage across the organisation). This thesis is the culmination of a four year EngD research critically investigating improvements in the effectiveness of Information Management (IM) in construction industry based organisations. It begins with an introduction to the research, its aims and objectives, and then presents a detailed review of related literature about the subject matter and the methodology employed in conducting the research. The eight research tasks carried out using extensive, varied and appropriate methods including literature reviews, case studies, interviews, surveys and workshops are then explained based upon which a number of key recommendations are drawn. The findings define IM as distinct from Information Technology (IT) and Information Systems (IS) and provide a critical insight into IM in construction industry based organisations including its strategic drivers, key influencers and barriers. It further highlights the four components of a holistic approach to IM as: The Content Model - the nature and structure of the content including metadata; The Enterprise Model - operational structure of the company including its business processes and information dependent activities; Systems and Technology - the most appropriate technological solutions in light of the defined content and enterprise models; and Implementation and Change Management - support for people and managing the transition into improved ways of working. The findings show that a clear alignment between an organisations information needs and its operational processes is key to developing and implementing an effective IM strategy. It shows that a unified approach is more appropriate for organisations than a single approach as certain multi-dimensional context specific factors exist which influence the nature of each organisations needs and therefore most suitable solutions to address them. The findings also demonstrate the importance of metadata in integrating organisations and enabling a holistic IM Strategy. A standard IM framework is developed and validated which provides a structured and systematic approach for organisations seeking to develop suitable metadata standards to meet their needs. The holistic approach applied to a number of case studies provides novel insights into the use of metadata in information retrieval; the development of aligned information architecture and the creation of holistic strategies for improving knowledge sharing and innovation. The thesis concludes with a critical review of the research and a number of key recommendations for organisations, IM research and the wider construction industry. All the findings and insights have been and continue to be disseminated through a number of peer reviewed publications.