New research suggests that CIOs share a vision for successful information management (IM) in order to obtain value from information, competitive differentiation and market advantage. Accenture released details of a survey of CIOs in which they reveal that their sights are set on adopting an enterprise-wide IM strategy within three years. But to reach the reality of this vision, many of the 162 CIOs surveyed still have significant ground to cover. The research revealed three themes:
- Organizations are targeting an overall IM strategy;
- Organizations are investing in IM to help them outperform the competition; and
- Organizations recognize the value that effective IM brings to their business.
Of those surveyed, 78 percent of CIOs say their analytics are currently at a basic or silo reporting level. This contrasts with 76.5 percent who are targeting enterprise-wide integration and 75 percent who want an IM strategy in place in three years. In addition, CIOs are addressing both structured and unstructured data; 75 percent expect their structured and unstructured data to be fully integrated within three years.
The chief hurdles CIOs face in achieving their vision are funding and data quality. Technology is seen to be the lowest obstacle - only five respondents say it is their main obstacle. This is due to the maturity of the tools available.
Of the survey respondents, 92 percent indicate that their information strategy takes into account classic, structured data, but more surprising is the extent to which respondents say they also include unstructured data, such as images, email and Web content. Showing a real evolution in the market, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of CIOs polled say that their strategies take into account both data types.
When asked where they want to be with respect to the integration of their structured and unstructured data, Accenture discovered a further shift in target performance - more than 75 percent of respondents aim to be integrated in three years, as shown in Figure 1.
When it comes to data access, there is a clear desire for a new breed of "information democracy," where workers have greater access to the information they need to do their jobs and make business decisions. Survey respondents say that the demand for access is increasing for both structured and unstructured data across the globe. Only a few organizations, like the New York Power Authority (see DM Review, October 2006) can say they are ahead of the pack.
When asked what is the most likely driver behind adopting an integrated approach to accessing and analyzing data, more than 60 percent say it is to achieve true competitive differentiation (new markets, more revenue and a means to innovate) rather than to just stay in the game. When respondents ranked the ways in which information brings business value, "improves access to high-quality information for better analysis and decision-making" was clearly the top choice.
Business intelligence (BI), in particular, is seen as a source of differentiation. However, organizations are currently falling short of their goals in this area. More than 60 percent of respondents are barely using BI for differentiation to date.
Nearly 30 percent of respondents indicate that BI and data warehousing will be afforded significant investment in the next 12 to 18 months. The focus on using data for advanced analytics echoes previous research.1
Looking ahead, although a significant portion of future spending might be on back-end technologies, user interfaces are also seen as central to harvesting value from information. More than 80 percent of respondents indicate that portals are already both managed and funded centrally, and a full 100 percent indicate that within the next three years, central funding will be achieved.
The opportunity now is for CIOs to offer the ability to work on multiple applications seamlessly through one portal, perhaps with built-in BI and analytical capabilities.
This research backs up the idea of an enterprise-wide and integrated approach to managing and creating value from an organization's diverse information assets. This approach should include:
- All types of data - structured and unstructured, internal and external.
- The entire information lifecycle - from acquisition to storage to cleansing to integration and, ultimately, analysis.
- Technology for managing information and ensuring security, governance models, enterprise standards and practices (and the roles and responsibilities associated with these activities).
- Integrating people, processes and technologies to drive high performance for the long term.
In fact, an enterprise-wide approach is a recurring theme in this research - from information integration to information security. There is little doubt that a comprehensive IM strategy enables organizations to maintain a focus on both structured and unstructured data, including not just the toolsets but also the supporting disciplines, such as governance, security, access, sharing and storage. We are seeing a shift away from the silo approach and a desire to introduce the kind of comprehensive integration and IM capabilities that cultivate a high-performance business.
For more details on the research, visit www.accenture.com/ciosurveyim.
- Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris. Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, March 2007.
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