When you need an information system to manage the information that is in your information system, you know there is something fundamentally wrong.

It is toooooooo much.

Just because you are able to track a lot of different things in some overly complex information system doesn’t mean that you should.

We have added complexity, but we have not necessarily added any value.

And if you don’t add value, you are not being productive. IT vendors are selling the idea of productivity, but it is more of a charade of productivity.

Productivity is complex. While in theory, it is a simple formula. Output over Input… The real trick is figuring out what the real inputs and outputs are. This is not as straightforward as it seems. It is a mix of raw materials, time and knowledge. Raw materials and time are easy to measure, but knowledge is really tricky.

Intellectual property portfolios are one type of proxy for the value of knowledge, but they don’t tell the whole story.

The value of knowledge plays itself out across the whole value creation chain.

A little more customer insight

A new technical innovation

Better project management skills

More effective communication strategies

Superior logistics

All of these are products of knowledge and information, but how do these intangible assets count in the productivity equation.

The problem of measuring intangible assets is not new. But as intangible assets become a bigger proportion of activity the inability to measure and account for them is becoming a bigger problem. Proxy measures of the value of intangible assets are not sufficient.

But real improvement in productivity will only come from more effective utilization of intangible assets.