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What is an Information Management System?

R. Kimball
R. Kimball

An information management system is a broad system that incorporates large amounts of information across an organization. Data elements are entered into a variety of systems throughout an organization. Information management is responsible for pulling all of these data elements together into a cohesive system. Depending upon the size of the organization, this system may cross many platforms and software applications, or all may be housed within the same computer.

Organizations collect massive amounts of data on a daily basis. In order to access and use all of this information, the organization needs a well-planned and managed information system. The source or format of the data is immaterial. All pieces of data must enter into the system so that the organization can use them.

A woman using an information management system.
A woman using an information management system.

Data must be managed throughout its life cycle. Paper documents, electronic document files, audio, video, and application-specific data all must be properly captured and stored. Laws and regulations place requirements on how data is to be stored, used, and archived by an organization. These laws and regulations vary based upon the type of information collected.

Individuals with experience in a variety of disciplines work together to develop an information management system. Business analysts and attorneys work to define the business and legal requirements of a given business need. This information is then fed to database specialists and information specialists to determine how the data is to be stored in a system. Ultimately, programmers and other technical experts work to develop the software used to store this information.

Each business and data need of an organization must be addressed in some form of information management system. Many of these systems are developed within an organization, due to the unique needs of such an organization. Commercial software applications may be licensed by an organization to meet many of its data management needs; however, these separate systems need to be integrated to make them communicate with each other. This integration process may be completed within the organization or by outside consultants.

An information management system houses disparate data within it. This data may be collected by keyboard data entry, Web portal collection, or even mobile phones. Generally, there are certain tags on these data elements that allow the organization to pull information across the system on one particular inquiry. This capability is inherently important to the success of the system. If the system does not permit such an inquiry, it is not an information management system, but rather a collection of software applications.

Discussion Comments


It's fascinating how much information you can get from properly organizing the different elements of your workplace.

My friend works compiling the data for a large shipping company and he can work out all kinds of things from it.

Another friend is a nurse at the local hospital and she is always complaining about the hospital information management system and how it is completely outdated and slows everyone down.

I guess if you really want to make your business efficient you try to get the best possible platform for organizing your information and implement it from the start. That's what I'd do anyway.


It seems hard to believe now that they once thought that computers would end up making this a paperless society. Even with advanced information management system software people still end up filing papers in filing cabinets like they always did.

I guess to some extent it is because people need a backup for important documents, and perhaps it's also because there is still no real substitute for a person's signature on a contract.

But, I'm hoping the existence of devices like ipads and things that can hook directly into whatever system a business is using will start to help cut down paper use, because aside from being environmentally wasteful, it's also a waste of space.

Plus, paper cuts suck.

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    • A woman using an information management system.
      A woman using an information management system.