IT Often Resource-Strapped in Business Push for Better Information

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    Data management isn’t enough anymore — it’s time to think more broadly about data and how it’s managed, experts say. It’s time to shift to enterprise information management.

    Why? (I feel like a broken record just saying it. But if you insist, I’ve found some new data to back me up.)

    Ventana Research just released a benchmark research report on information optimization, according to Information Management. It includes this finding: While 97 percent of organizations say it’s important or very important to make information available to the business and customers, only 25 percent are satisfied with the technology they’re using to provide access to that data.

    Information optimization is just what it sounds like — your ability to use the data on-demand, easily and in meaningful ways, Ventana’s CEO and Chief Research Officer Mark Smith explained. At the time, Ventana found that organizations were taking a wide range of approaches in an attempt to achieve the goal of information optimization.

    This new report is a result of Ventana’s decision to study these efforts. The firm identified 200 qualified participants, including business and IT managers who work with information management or are involved in purchasing technology for information management.

    The findings are revealing. First, the push for greater operational efficiency is driving this shift for a majority (67 percent) of organizations.

    “The imperative is so strong that 43 percent of all organizations currently are making changes to how they design and deploy information, while another 37 percent plan to make changes in the next 12 months,” writes Tony Cosentino, VP and research director at Ventana.

    IT is under pressure to improve access to information, sometimes without the support of a line of business, he continues. The problem is, often IT doesn’t have the resources or technology to solve the problem, which is leading to unhappy IT departments in two out of five organizations, Cosentino says.

    Giving IT an unfunded mandate? It makes you wonder just how serious organizations really are about better access to information, doesn’t it?

    Here’s another revealing finding:

    “Internally, many organizations try to optimize information using manual spreadsheet processes and are confident in their ability to get by 73% of the time. But when the focus turns to the ability to make information available to partners or customers, an increasingly important capability in today’s information-driven economy, the confidence rate drops dramatically to 62% and 55% respectively.”

    “Manual spreadsheet processes?” Seriously?

    It’s time to change, and Ventana isn’t the only one beating that drum. Information is becoming a major competitive asset, which means businesses need to develop information management (IM) as a competency, writes Gartner Distinguished Analyst Ted Friedman in a recent ComputerWeekly column.

    “Thinking of IM as ‘storage’ or ‘maintenance’ or ‘hosting’ of information is no longer sufficient,” he warns. “Such mindsets miss the whole point of how information can be used to innovate, to compete or to grow the business — all business outcomes that CEOs and business leaders in general are seeking.”

    Friedman doesn’t talk about information optimization per se. Instead, he discusses the role of information governance in changing how we use and interact with information. Alas, the short piece doesn’t offer a lot of specifics, since it’s more of a promotion piece for Gartner’s upcoming Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summit 2014 in London.

    If you’d like to learn more about Ventana’s research, you can buy the report or you can download the executive summary for free with basic user registration information.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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