Survey Shows People Unhappy with Current Access to Data

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Top Ten Best Practices for Data Integration

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Six. It isn't a huge number, but when you consider integration, it's big enough.

Seventy-eight percent of companies say they integrate six different data sources just to access the information they need, according to a global survey of 700 senior IT decision makers conducted by Vanson Bourne, a technology market research company.

The survey was sponsored by Information Builders, which offers an application data integration platform called iWay. I asked iWay's director of product marketing, Vincent Lam, about the results and what the survey revealed about integration.

One finding: Even though the survey queried IT pros, 32 percent self-ranked the management of their data as - at best - "Not good."

"It is eye opening in that even though the majority of the organizations have an integrated infrastructure approach to get this information, that hasn't been the ultimate solution," Lam said. "They're still not happy, if you will, with the status quo."

I pointed out that, really, 32 percent wasn't that bad. Maybe most are actually satisfied with their integration?

Alas, not really. The survey asked about accessibility of data and found that only 29 percent of employees have access to decision-making data. Plus, employees only have access to about 40 percent of all the organizational data available. Why is 60 percent unavailable? While it could be a number of factors, I have to suspect at least one is integration.

Another revealing finding is that the responsibility for data belongs to IT in about 50 percent of the organizations surveyed. Honestly, I thought it would be higher.

I asked Lam what that told him as a marketing director at a BI firm.

"We think BI is terrific for helping people make decisions regardless of their role in the company and regardless of where they are," he said. "We really do believe data is empowering for the individual and it's certainly empowering for the whole corporation. So making sure that everybody has actionable, good data is important."

Finally, the study shows we can expect a major shift soon in terms of how information is consumed. OK, that's not shocking, but what is intimidating is the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Right now, the vast majority of information users within an enterprise use a laptop or desktop to access data, with about 30 percent being accessed on smartphones and 19 percent on tablets.

Those percentages are expected to shift in the near future. Lam said about 50 percent plan to add smartphone/tablet capability.

"That far outpaces the pace of the traditional platform," Lam said. "So we can see that's a very big growth factor for getting to information."