From an economist’s point of view, an Asset is something that can provide future services or economic benefit. Most types of assets like vehicles, aircraft, plant & equipment, depreciate in value through use. Information is different, however, in that the value of information increases with use.

I have referenced Measuring the Value of Information: An Asset Valuation Approach by Daniel Moody and Peter Walsh before. It is a great and timeless piece. In their paper, they describe the “Seven Laws of Information”. Today, we are focused on Law 2 which states that “The Value of Information Increases with Use”.

Value of Information Use

Information must be used to be valuable.

Data – and the Information derived from it – has no inherent value on its own. The information only becomes valuable when people use the information. Furthermore, because “information is (infinitely) shareable” – Law 1 – with negligible incremental cost, it stands to reason that the more people that use any individual piece of information, the more value the organization derives from it.

Let’s take floor plans as an example. Floor plans are a critical piece of facilities information. They are typically maintained by a handful of people in the organization that have the ability to use a desktop CAD tool like Autocad or Microstation. If you can publish those floor plans quickly, easily, and securely to a web browser where anyone involved in space planning and space management can access them (often hundreds), the value of those floor plans has increased significantly. If you can then share those same floor plans with all your facilities residents (employees, students, faculty, visitors, etc.) the value of the same information rises dramatically again.

Delivering on the value potential

By now it should be clear that the value of information increases with use. How then, do we ensure that our information is continually becoming more valuable? There are several enablers to the effective use of information:

  • People must know that it exists. This requires outreach, training, linking from other resources, etc. It also may require that the information is cataloged in some way.
  • People must know where to find it. This may sound obvious, but we have worked with many customers with terabytes of facilities information stored on some sort of shared drive that goes unused because people can’t find a particular piece of that information when they need it.
  • People must have access to it. This is both a tooling and a security question. The information has no value to me if I don’t have the proper security credentials to access it. Similarly, it has no value to me if it is in a format that I don’t have the tools or training to use.
  • People must know how to use it. For most information, this is pretty straightforward, but for domain-specific information, there may need to be specific training delivered to unlock the value of the information.

Again from the Moody/Walsh paper: “Information is at its highest “potential” when everyone in the organization knows where it is, has access to it and knows how to use it. Information is at its lowest “potential” when people don’t even know it is there.”

PenBay is working to help you increase the value of your information

We are working hard today to ensure that InVision is a powerful tool to help facilities teams easily discover, share, and use a broad range of facilities information. We are also focused on Law 5 which states that “The Value of Information Increases When Combined With Other Information”. (see our previous blog post) Our highest aspiration is to build tools that allow you to easily combine data from a variety of sources into rich information published through focused business applications to allow you to apply your deep knowledge of your facilities to make wise decisions.