Managing information can quickly become an enormous task, and it’s often difficult to determine if your information management system is meeting its goals. Fortunately a number of metrics measure performance, allowing you to see how your information database is performing and where it can improve.
Information Management Metric #1: Usage
Usage is an important measurement of a system’s performance. After all, if a majority of users are actively using the system, it must be delivering value. On the other hand, if few users routinely use it, then this could indicate a deficiency in training, a lack of support, issues with access, a lack of useful queries and reports, or even a lack of relevancy.
Information Management Metric #2: Performance
Performance and response times can affect the user experience and ultimate success of an information database. For example, if running a seemingly simple query takes ten minutes or longer, users will be less likely to utilize the system in the future or will become frustrated when they have no other alternatives.
If you notice excessive performance issues, further analysis is needed. Are the performance issues affecting a specific user or group of users? Are they related to a specific table or query type? Your findings may prompt you to train users in how to perform more efficient queries or you may need to adjust the database to perform the desired functions more efficiently.
Information Management Metric #3: Popular Keywords
Understanding how your organization is using the information database can help you to better accommodate its needs. By examining popular keywords and searches, you can gain a deeper understanding into what type of information the user base wants. From there, you can consider whether the scope of the information contained in the database serves its purpose or if you need to expand it to better serve users.
Information Management Metric #4: Availability
No matter how useful and relevant the information contained in your information management database may be, it’s not useful or relevant if it is unavailable to users. Use availability metrics to determine uptime and downtime. Also look at when downtime tends to occur. Does it occur during normal business hours? If so, why? Is demand causing issues with availability or can scheduled maintenance be shifted to a time when fewer users need to access the database?
Information Management Metric #5: Dormant Data
Storing vast amounts of information is expensive. Not only does data take up disk space, massive amounts of data on your system can affect performance. However, not all of the information stored on your system is useful or relevant. “Dormant data” refers to information that is never accessed. It just sits there, hogging up disk space and system resources. Dormant data may be obsolete or it could actually be useful but with no clear path for users to access it. In either case, periodically looking at data that hasn’t been accessed for a prescribed period of time is smart. It can reveal data that should be removed or prompt you to reevaluate the dormant data’s accessibility.
These five metrics can help you see the big picture and show you areas that can be improved either from within the database or through improved user training.