October 27, 2011 2535 VIEWS
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Being a Paper Presented at the Records and Information Management Award Workshop (RIMAW) 2011 held at the Sheraton Hotels Ikeja on Friday 28th of October, 2011 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
 

It is very easy at an award ceremony in Nigeria to get carried away with the ceremonies of the day, to be largely overwhelmed by the fawning attention of guests and members of the audience, and as the intensity of this increases, the man given the task of delivering a thought-led paper on a critical issue to begin to imagine himself as the important agenda on the programme.

 

Soon enough, he forgets his primary assignment and begins to enjoy the privilege of this ‘pulpit’ for his own sake and what it can bring. It is both a practical and psychological pitfall, the drama of which has been played out all too often at many of such functions I have attended in the past; to the great discomfort and disadvantage of the public that needs the insight to make something out of the chaos we have before us.

 

I was therefore sufficiently doubtful of what impact, if any, such ‘heavily packaged occasions’ offer to the public rather than a general acknowledgement of ones personal role in the industry and the 5 minutes of fame it offers.

 

Well if it will not be a bother to you, and staying true to that premise; may I proceed to leave out any self-promoting diatribe out of my presentation today; and being conscious of time, go straight to articulate what I consider are the key issues relevant to the sub theme I have been given – in five (5) clear points.


1. Records and Information Management 

The prime requirements driving Records & Information Management are information curation and audit.

 

Extending this further, the key drivers [or the three C's] of information management are content creation, curation (i.e. dissemination/propagation) and consumption of information.

 

Mastery of these 3 requirements is essential in managing the tide of information overflow.

 

The other essential component is audit – and here I am referring specifically to information audit which expands beyond the scope of traditional account and economic analysis and encompasses the whole organisation’s information system.

 

This provides the ability for organisations to look back at historical data and use the information to proactively manage and predict future performances. 
 

2. The information Management landscape is changing rapidly due to the introduction of a new approach to gathering, storing, retrieving, securing and sharing information.  

The monumental change in the industry is the migration towards cloud computing. The enablers of cloud computing are the ubiquitous access to the internet and ability of the underlying networks to support large data transfer irrespective of geographic location.

 

Cloud computing is a service delivery model as opposed to the product delivery model. The precursor of this model is the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

 

A typical example is the hosting of a company's sales and marketing online (CRM tools) to be assessed by staff at anytime and anywhere. This also applies to hosting office suites and day to day information in a secure online storage.

 

The unique attribute of cloud computing is the ability to maintain a uniform and consistent database across the enterprise while allowing collaboration amongst multiple parties. We are not yet there in Nigeria though but some firms with global relevance have latched on to this. 
 

3. The most valuable asset of an organisation is information and time.  

In the current dispensation, today's workers are essentially knowledge workers and in other to be proficient and effective, they must have the ability to mine and extract the relevant information from myriad sources and make coherent sense out of the sheer possibilities of options before them.

 

The hallmark of an astute leader is ‘the ability to come to a conclusion and ask significant questions based on the information accessible to him or her’.

 

The decision making process which followed a simpler process years ago is now exponentially complex due to the interconnectedness of the world.

 

Decision makers now grapple with the twin problems of not only understanding how to curate information but also managing information flow.

 

Individuals are now replacing institutions with such ability to broadcast themselves (Youtube, Scribed, LinkedIn), Report on news (via blogging) and make impact statements (via twitter).
 

4. As the IT and Telecommunications industry merge and become a single vertical, the current mantra is now a "Race to Zero".  

Zero in this case is latency (i.e. delay) and these requirements are driven by financial institutions and mission critical business who demand the fastest network available to carry data and information.

 

"It takes 400 milliseconds, or four-tenths of a second, to blink—and that's far too long for an increasing number of traders. Black box traders, direct market access traders and algorithmic traders are all in a race to beat the other guy. And the best way to do that is to get their hands on the market data first and their orders to the exchanges first. They expect to do it in microseconds or, at least, single-digit milliseconds (Peter Chapman).

 

The current infrastructure in Nigeria, while improving, is still lagging behind most countries to support cloud computing. The country will have to invest in the latest backhaul infrastructure and last mile access with support for large data transfers.

 

The 21st century is IP centric and within the next few years virtually every single device will have its own IP (Internet Protocol) address and can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world.

 

For Nigeria not to be behind the curve, it will be critical that policies and substantial private/public partnership is in place to make the country a network hub zone in the region & continent. Nigeria needs to support huge physical data centres which are still required to support cloud computing.

 

This attracts companies like Google and Amazon who require such partnership to diversify and spread its cloud computing tentacles across the world.
 

5. The Latest buzzword in wireless technology is NFC (Near Field Communication).  

This is a disruptive technology because it will be replacing the current credit card system using the mobile phone as the single payment system, this is akin to e-wallet. This technology was launched in Android phones a few weeks ago and is rumored to be included in the coming I-Phone 5 and other phone platforms such as BB and Windows.

 

The impact on the financial sector will be huge and it will explode the rate of transactions currently handled by financial institutions. The learning curve for the consumer is not expected to be steep as they are already used to using their phones in similar fashion. 

 

The elephant in the room is usually security from the enterprise and consumer perspective. These changes are like a tsunami and truth be said, inevitable. The earlier financial institutions embrace and make preparations for the changes the better the transition will be. 

 

As we speak, the internet (IPv4) is so saturated that internet addresses are almost running out. A new internet dispensation IPv6 has been introduced to ensure that we do not run out of IP addresses.

 

Therefore only companies that anticipate these changes and adapt their service delivery model to support all platforms will thrive.

 

Close 

In closing, it is important to note Metcalfe's law which states that the value of a communications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.

 

For example, a single mobile phone is useless if you are the only person with a mobile phone, but the value of the mobile phone increases with the total number of mobile phones in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user can communicate with increases.

 

In order to harness the power of information we need leaders and organizations willing to step into the unknown and be trailblazers.

 

We cannot win the race to zero if we are always a step behind.

 

At Proshare, we always seek to step into the unknown and move with global standards, ahead of the ‘local’ curve - in delivering our services. It is a constant struggle I must admit, but the destination we seek makes it a daily attraction to do more as we steadily build a network of users, content and service providers.

 

I acknowledge that my contributions could have been juicier but I have tried to do the right thing – allow the audience to draw their own conclusions and see the possibilities this insight can deliver. After all, this is an award ceremony and not a brainstorming session.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for listening.

 

Olufemi AWOYEMI, FCA, AIoD, ACIT

Founder/CEO Proshare Nigeria Limited 

www.proshareng.com  /  ceo@proshareng.com 

Follow us on Proshare Web TV   LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

 

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