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Infonomics: What business leaders should know

Opinion
INFORMATION

INFORMATION plays a key role in any organisation. The speed, spread and incredible growth rate of online information is a clear indication that information is critical.

We are baffled by information overload, and it is the leader’s role to extrapolate it. In the noise, chaos, and complexities of that information jungle, the leader should not close his ears, but get a close analytical view. Remember the devil is in the details.

The word infonomics is being used intentionally in this article to mean the collective value derived from the information that a company can use to grow its market share and more profits.

Infonomics is a construct of two words, information and economics or the economics of information. In simple terms, it’s how we monetise information through proper management, measurement and application of it.

Liliya Fuatovna Garifova (2015) wrote: “The world has entered a new digital epoch: here the activity of the organisations is mainly in the production and use of information technologies and accumulated information to make all other forms of production more efficient and thereby ensure a new quality of economic growth, and creating greater wealth of information.”

It’s more than investing in IT gadgets

Companies might think about investing in the latest IT gadgets and that’s good. Just this week, Apple launched its iPhone 14 which has great features for business use.

The leader goes beyond the power of a gadget by investing in his company’s operating culture of being abreast with these new trends and terrains around the digital economy. That means, the leader values talent density and maximises on it.

Talent density is the collective amount of talent held by employees. The quality of your teams will determine the clients you attract and your brand equity, hence the need to invest in employees who understand the importance of the information and the economics behind it.

Investing in a solid communication strategy

The art of communication should be at the centre of every company. That takes a solid communication strategy that constantly goes under a communication audit.

Online informatics or communication analytics matter to the chief executive (CE), chief operations (CO), chief finance (CF), and every C-suite executive in the organisation.

The demographics of online hits, views, followers, and comments should never be taken lightly, as they contribute to search engine optimisation (SEO) and user-generated content.

It’s more than managers; it's influencers

These days we are realising that management, as a business field, is under serious attack. The word influence has become a buzzword.

It is more than being a manager for controlling systems, but influencing more numbers to buy your product.

What influencers do is that they present the numbers of people they have, and sell advertising space. They are now becoming brand ambassadors for products so that more eyeballs view a particular product.

In other words, these influencers have the information of their consumers they are selling to the prospective advertisers.

Ecosystems

Most information and technology-related businesses are investing in ecosystems. It’s more than just being an oligopoly or a monopoly, but understanding business ecosystems.

Google might be known for being the largest search engine, but have you realised it owns YouTube (video), Google Classroom (education or online learning management system), Google Maps (navigation), Google Drive (storage) and a whole lot of office-related platforms such as Google Docs, Slides, Sheets.

In simple terms, you can’t talk of the internet without talking about Google. They released the power of owning not just a product, but an ecosystem.

When you think about ecosystems in business, you have made means for making money from diverse platforms.

So is Microsoft, it’s more than a monopoly or an oligopoly, it owns the ecosystem that controls online behavioural economics and solves most of your daily online or office needs.

When speed matters

The world is talking about speed; the speed of your phone, computer and the speed in the general Internet of Things.

So as a leader, if you don’t have speed in the information highway, you definitely are not in congruent with other fast drivers in your lane.

Remember, it’s no longer about direction only, because you might take five years to reach a good goal, only to realise that the goal you were driving towards is obsolete or irrelevant and is no longer in tandem with market needs.

So, to every leader speed matters so as to accelerate product production and processes.

Learn to minimise and eliminate or exterminate bureaucratic impediments to business, while maintaining standard operating protocols.

There is a need for culture change in the organisation, as that will positively affect and influence the agility and the speed of doing business.

Non-linear CEs

CEs should be on the lookout for market changes. They must predict the next bounce of the ball.

When linear managers said “that’s not the way we do business”, new disruptive thinkers were finding ways of doing business better and with ease.

In the process, traditional leaders lost business to the new thinkers. Remember, it’s not about what you did in your MBA, but about what you learn after that.

Eric Hoffer rightfully said: “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Parting point: Governments and companies are protecting their valued asset called information for fear of losing their competitive advantage.

Hackers are working flat out to get the next morsel of information. Why? Because there is value and power in information.

Social media platforms are trading using information. There is never a thing like free social media. It might be free to be on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram, but that comes with value because it is your online information, such as preferences and behavioural economics which is sold to the advertiser.

You are the commodity to the social media companies, sold to the advertiser. Haven’t you marvelled at the reason that social media constantly flashes in your eyes the adverts that are in line with your preferences?  Think infonomics!

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