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Improve Information Competency for Your Company

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Utilize the diagnostic questions and explain the results.
  • Determine next steps after the assessment.

Do It Yourself (DIY)—Assess Your Organization’s Information Competency

A pegboard with cartoon arrows and flashcards next to a wall-mounted pencil holder and a pie chart. Text reads: Do It Yourself—Assess Your Organization’s Information Competency.

We designed the following set of diagnostic questions to help you assess the information competency of your organization. The tool will help you quickly capture your perceptions regarding the use of quality information in knowledge sharing and development, information quality levels in key areas, and the general quality of arguments and recommendations being used. The tool will also help you identify potential root causes for continuous improvement purposes. Let’s give it a try!

Step 1: Get a quick read on knowledge sharing using high-quality information.

Q. How much is your organization like the one below?

Very much like us is best in class.

“We have an organizational culture that truly values and promotes knowledge sharing between colleagues. My colleagues and I readily exchange high-quality information to help each other succeed.”

If this sounds like your organization, you may be best in class. If it doesn’t sound like your organization, then there’s likely work to be done!

Step 2. Find your organization’s information quality (IQ) strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Start by giving the information used/available in each of the areas an IQ score

IQ Scores
Scale: 1=Uh-Oh, 3=OK, 5=Best in Class

Mission, Vision, Strategy

Customer and Market Information
Overall Organizational Performance Information
Performance Information

Other Essential Information
Intrinsic IQ
(Accurate, Believable, Reputable, Objective)

Contextual IQ
(Value-added, Relevant, Complete, Timely, Appropriate in amount)

Representational IQ
(Understandable, Interpretable, Concisely and Consistently Representational)

Accessibility IQ
(Accessible, Easily operational, Secure)

Next, for the areas that you scored less than a 3, take a moment to document your thoughts on why you scored them that way, and identify some potential root cases for improvement.

Information Area
Why I scored it this way…
Potential root causes

Step 3. Find your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement pertaining to arguments/justifications and recommendations.

Key Component
Quick Assessment Questions
5=Best in Class)

In general, are claims usually clear and concise?

Reasons and Relationships
In general, do the reasons and relationships provided make sense, and are they defensible?

In general, does the evidence provided meet IQ requirements and best practices?

In general, are counterarguments acknowledged, and responses proactively provided?

Take a moment to document your thoughts on why you scored the key components the way you did, and identify some potential root causes for improvement.

Key Component
Why I scored it this way…
Potential root causes

Next Steps

Being involved in the operation, management, or development of Salesforce solutions means that you are deeply involved in some of the most critical information in our organizations. Your position also gives you a unique opportunity to contribute to the information competency of organizations using Salesforce solutions. How? Let’s take a look.

  1. Reflect on your DIY assessment scores and take action.
    • Take a moment to reflect on your scores. What are some of your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement? A number of solutions and fixes may be possible. Before making changes, remember that the scores in the assessment tool are your own. Other people in the organization may have different perspectives. Earlier in this module, we examined how organizations can be viewed as complex systems of interrelated components that need to work in sync. So, it’s quite possible that people in other departments can help clarify the opportunities, and help craft improvement initiatives that work. As always, reviewing your results with an appropriate manager or executive may yield additional insights. And who knows, you may get a free cup of coffee or tea out of the meeting!
  2. Improve the information in our systems.
    • In an earlier unit, we reviewed the importance of asking a lot of questions to help identify the information needed for the job at hand, and using the dimensions of information quality (IQ) to increase information usefulness. While these may seem like obvious things to do on a go- forward basis, it can also be beneficial to periodically use the same techniques on the information we already have in our systems, such as whether or not additional (or perhaps less) information would benefit users.
    • If you need help identifying information-related improvements, try attending a Salesforce event or user group. You might be amazed at how helpful the community is, and how many great ideas you’ll come away with. For example, at Dreamforce, if you attend a Circle of Success user roundtable, you will find users sharing their best practices and collaborating on all kinds of information-related topics.
  3. Promote information competency and collaboration.
    • A critically important element of this entire module is the need to build knowledge throughout our organizations. As you recall from our first unit, much knowledge is stored in the minds of individuals, and spread and developed through interactions involving information. So, by improving our own information competency, and helping others improve theirs, we should be able to create even more vibrant places to work. Two areas that, based on your role, you can likely help the most are modeling the way and adopting social network and collaboration tools at work.

Modeling the way involves adopting proven questioning strategies to identify the right information needed for the job, and using the IQ dimensions to assess and improve information usefulness. It also means structuring arguments/justifications and recommendations to improve communications with others, and the dialogue and decisions that follow.

Adopting social network and collaboration tools at work may be easier than it sounds. Some organizations are much better at using these tools than others. Based on the research, a number of organizational and social factors can influence adoption of these tools at work. However, even in the most challenging organizations, we need to start somewhere—so, getting these tools in place may enable pockets of organic use that spread across the organization!


In this unit, we assessed the information competency of our organization to identify its strengths and opportunities for improvement. We also examined some next steps that we can take in our roles to help our organizations develop information competency and knowledge-based capabilities.

In closing, it’s important to remember that, as the Knowledge Era continues to take hold, and as the volume of information (good and bad) continues to grow beyond our wildest imagination, your role with Salesforce puts you at the epicenter of these critical organizational capabilities. In other words, we’re counting on you!