Business process management and information management

Good information management entails understanding the types of information that an organization creates in order to identify valuable information and what needs to be managed for long term. This requires periodic audits to identify what information exists, where it can be found, who is responsible for it and how it can be used. Business Process Management (BPM) has been embraced by organizations to improve business performance. BPM promotes the continuous improvement of work processes. The management of processes is a prerequisite for strategic planning and the coordination of businesses. BPM has its origin in industrial engineering in order to improve business processes, enhance product quality and enables the measurement of process performance (Hammer & Champy, 1995; Ljungberg & Larsson, 2008). Effective processes rely on good quality information. The identification of vital information and records in an organization is intrinsically linked to the analysis of business processes (ISO/TS 23081-1, 2004). A good example to demonstrate this is the work that the National Archives of Sweden has been involved in. In 2009, the National Archives issued a regulation requiring all government agencies to embrace process based archival descriptions by year 2009 (Riksarkivet, 2008). This has meant abandoning a 100-year archival description and classification system. It was argued that the traditional archival description system was insufficient in the current complex digital information management environment. The traditional system was hierarchical in structure and was based on physical volumes that described the types of records instead of focusing on the content (Sundberg, 2013). It is argued that business process oriented archival descriptions suit the digital environment and hence facilitate a better understanding of the context under which the information/records are created (Samuelsson, n.d.). The archival descriptions are supposed to facilitate information access and therefore of crucial importance in an era where huge chunks of information have to be made available to the general public.

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