Information management provides the key for effective decision-making. Whereas data can be thought of as individual facts (such as the number of people in a small town), information is data organized to provide an answer to a complex problem (such as how much tax revenue can be expected to be gathered in a given year from an entire state). A key problem in information management is that of information islands, a situation where data (such as financial data) is inaccessible from other necessary systems (such as regulatory compliance). These islands arise out of a lack of trust; individual information owners must be assured that all data is used correctly in order for sharing to occur. The Army and other large organizations see this problem as a major roadblock to integrate their information management capabilities (â€œWe have a lot of innovation happening with the Soldiers, but it’s happening in pockets and in silos, and in a way that’s not shared with the rest of the Armyâ€).
In this paper we look at computer infrastructure and data management and examine how they help us to build and keep the trust necessary to prevent information islands from occurring. In our organization, we manage data in both of its primary forms: centralized and decentralized. Centralized data management allows us to ensure that information is controlled and available regardless of the logged-in user’s location, while decentralized data management allows us to provide modern Web services for sharing data with our clients and partners in a secure manner.