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Enterprise Information Management

What does “Enterprise” mean?

It means the entire organization, including all of its subsidiaries. The term implies a large corporation or government agency, but it may also refer to a company of any size with many systems and users to manage.

The University of Michigan is an “enterprise.” Similar to a business, the University has many subsidiaries (e.g. schools, colleges, units, etc.), many systems, and many users to manage. Each subsidiary creates and maintains valuable information for the University, which requires strategic management. Management of information across an enterprise with many systems is often referred to as “Enterprise Information Management.”

“Enterprise Information Management is a technology strategy for organizing, designing, cataloging, and safeguarding structured and unstructured content to maximize its value, usefulness, accessibility and security (Gartner, 2005).”

Why is it necessary?

Enterprise Information Management is necessary in order to simplify process and attain operational efficiency. It is also necessary to maintain agility and competitive differentiation. – Gartner, 2005

The area of UM Development (donor relations, fundraising, gift management, etc.) is a good example of why an Enterprise Information Management program is necessary:

  • Simplify process and attain operational efficiency
    • The existing Donor, Alumni and Constituent (DAC) database does not directly integrate with the university’s financial system. Financial information currently has to be exported from DAC, then imported and synched with the University’s financial system. The process is labor, time, and risk intensive – costly for the University on many levels. Enterprise Information Management integrates the two systems, to simplify the financial tracking process required both by Development and Financial staff.

  • Maintain agility and competitive differentiation
    • Some Development Information is recorded in DAC Database when a gift is made, or when a development officer reports an interaction he/she has with a potential donor. However, not all information is captured in DAC – either because DAC cannot accommodate the data, or because the staff involved with this development information doesn’t have access to DAC. As a result, many units or areas of the university develop their own database – a “shadow system” – for capturing their development information. As more shadow systems are created, less information is captured in DAC, which means that two units in the university could be looking at conflicting information on the same donor. If both units approach a donor without the other knowing, the university could lose a potential gift. 

How does the University support Enterprise Information Management?

UM created a special organization dedicated to management of University administrative information and technology resources when it recognized that an integrated approach to University-wide information systems was necessary. In 2000, Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) was formed, and since has been responsible for deploying and maintaining technology systems that house information used institution-wide in managing the University.

MAIS implements and supports enterprise administrative applications that are used by the University to run its core administrative functions. Enterprise Resource Planning systems (like M-Pathways) are made up of a suite of comprehensive integrated application modules that support a core business and most of its key sub-processes.

In selecting and implementing Enterprise Resource Planning systems, MAIS analyzes business processes from “end to end” – rather than from a single office’s perspective. For example, the new Donor and Alumni Relationship Tool will support a wide-range of business processes within UM’s Development area, such as prospect management, events planning, and campaign management – not just financial transactions.

References:

  • 2003. James, Greta A. and Friedman, Ted. “Enterprise Data Architecture: Why, What and How” (Gartner, Inc.)*.
  • 2005. Newman, David. “Business Drivers and Issues in Enterprise Information Management” (Gartner, Inc.)*.
  • MAIS Strategic Plan
  • UM Business Intelligence Website

*Gartner, Inc. is a leading information technology research and advisory company delivering technology-related insight to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. The Gartner articles cited above are proprietary, but may be provided to University of Michigan members. Please contact Lesly Sauceda for more information: lburgamy@bf.umich.edu.