Information management using open source

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Information management is concerned with the management of information within an enterprise. According to Russell Ackoff, a system theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:

While data is concerned with collections of raw facts, symbols, observations and the like, information is more concerned with pre-processed and meaningful data. For example, 6 would be data and when used in the context of "Kara's height is 6 feet", we can say that the data has been presented as useful information. Indeed, data that has been made more useful becomes information.

Since most organizations today are dealing with information on a large scale, information has become a primary asset of every organization. Information therefore needs to be "managed" within the enterprise so as to provide efficient means to create,define, store, index, use, transfer and apply the same. Hence it can be said that information management makes information tangible in technology based repositories and systems so as to make it accessible to the appropriate person at the needed time within the organization.

With soaring capital costs and increasing investments in information technology to achieve competitive advantage, organizations today are turning to low cost technologies to cut costs and realize benefits of technology. Open source is an answer to this prayer as organizations across the world today are recovering benefits and savings in terms of cost, money by investing in technology whose source code is available free of cost.

The fundamental principle of Open Source is simple: because programmers can read, write, and modify the source code for a software application, the system evolves for the better over time. third parties can add improvements, fix problems, and generally improve the product. And, there is no need to wait for the corporate company to develop systems based on secret programs hidden from users. With Open Source, an organization or individual has the ability and the legal right to develop software that meets the needs of the organization.

In a dynamic environment wherein information is being transacted in micro and nano seconds, it is essential to build a self sustaining and evolving system that can ensure maintainability with mini

Powered by benefits of affordability, flexibility and wide availability without licensing hassles, information management has been made easy through the use of open source technologies. Content Management systems and portal software like Plone, Drupal, Mambo and Joomla are being used to power the intranet systems that serve as information management tools in organizations. These intranet systems leverage the information of an organization through their inbuilt features of document management, content management, WYSIWYG editors for content maintenance and make the same available through a seamless, authorization and authentication based system

Information management using open source technologies can dramatically increase the delivery of services and improve the efficiency of the organization through low cost and affordable software solutions. The availability of source code for modification without proprietary licensing issues allows the organization the freedom to customize the application to their choice. Hence unlike proprietary solutions, the organization has the full freedom to modify and customize the product to their needs unlike traditional software wherein the users are bound by copyright agreements.

The use of open source software includes but is not restricted to just the implementation of an open source based solution in an organization. This is but the first step in the successful implementation of Information Management strategy in an organization. This has to be followed by an effective Change Management program to educate and spread the use of open source software in the organization as open source is often perceived to have limitations of lack of support, insecurity etc to name a few.

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