The Real Value of Business Information

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Measuring the Business Impact of Effective Data

Improved data usability can have a huge impact on revenue.

One of the things that IT professionals deal with every day is that business executives tend to take information for granted. As a result, little effort goes into making information more accessible and, by extension, useful.

But as IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson wrote earlier, a new study from the University of Texas and the Indian School of Business conducted on behalf of the Sybase unit of SAP finds that depending on the vertical industry, a 10 percent improvement in the accessibility of data can have a major impact on a company's top-line revenue and bottom-line income.

The basic theory at work here is that employees armed with more information are exponentially more productive. While that might seem obvious, there's a fair amount of resistance to investing the time and money needed to make information more accessible.

As noted by Anitesh Barua, distinguished teaching professor and lead researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, businesses still tend to store information in silos, making it difficult to correlate data in a way that it can be used.


Barua also notes that there seems to be a general lack of regard among business executives in certain vertical industries for the value of high-quality information. That begs the question: Will the current generation of business executives will ever come to value high-quality information, or will IT executives have to wait for another generation of business executives that have been trained in business school to really value information.

The subject of data quality is, of course, an ongoing debate within both IT and business circles. But Barua notes that software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in particular, along with mobile and cloud computing in general, are bringing down the real costs associated with making relevant information more accessible to end users at the right time. And as that trend continues, the data suggests that the companies that effectively harness these trends to get relevant information into the hands of their end users ultimately will be the ones that dominate their industry.

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