The phrase alone is enough to strike terror into the hardiest of managers; it presages the breakdown of society as we know it and the failure of management to cope with change. The media constantly dissect the forthcoming collapse brought on by TMI ("Too Much Information"), even as they themselves pile up larger and larger dossiers on the subject, and we are frequently informed that it is our own damn fault that we are drowning in data, since we simply can't discriminate between the important stuff and everything else. Hence, the info-tsunami warning signs posted all along what we once so naively called the "information superhighway".
So how does all this tie together? Well, we've got all this lovely data, information, and maybe even knowledge floating around most organizations, but we don't seem to be able to make a lot of use of it. Either there's just too much, or we can't identify relevant material on a timely basis, or things fall between the organizational cracks. In any event, we experience what amounts to "information overload" on a pretty regular basis, despite having all this understanding of information and some really good tools for managing and using it. How come?
There's a lot more out there in the optional and supplemental readings as well as the wide wonderful world of the Internet to give you a feel for whether or not we're about to be washed away by the "info-tsunami"; the more widely you can spread your own information gathering net, the more effective your analysis is likely to be.
How taking a socio-technical perspective can be more productive in helping organizations manage information overload than either technical solutions or organizational solutions alone?