The Business of Information: The New Competitive Challenge
Paul G. Zurkowski
The exciting thing about information is that it creates change. When people learn something, they live differently. Information services help people learn and must change as their users change in order to continue to offer value in the marketplace. To be involved in this business is both challenging and stimulating.
Information services are driven by the marketplace. There are no guarantees in the marketplace; information services have the right to fail as well as the right to succeed. In theory, information should be of interest to people generally. In practice, information has value in direct proportion to what is at stake in a decision. The value of information is in its application; standing alone it has little value.
Information directed at decisions becomes a part of that decision process and contributes critical value. It is an element of production and, like labor, materials, and capital, it generates wealth. This wealth-generating function is the new competitive force challenging management, worldwide, today.
Fundamental to understanding the wealth-generating function of information is an understanding of the effect information has on a product or service. Paul Hawken , in his book The Next Economy, 1 points out that there is more information in a reflex camera than there is in a pound of lead. The reflex camera embodies both scientific and technical information inherent in its operation as well as