January 7, 2010 – An Aberdeen Group study of data management for business intelligence finds a wide gap between best in class companies and the industry average, especially in the areas of data cleansing, search query optimization and master data management.

BI systems examine rapidly growing volumes of organizational information. BI can help businesses make better-informed decisions; the ability to do so is directly related to the cleanliness, relevance and timeliness of a company’s data.

Based on feedback from 216 global organizations, Aberdeen found significant trends in high performing companies: best in class are twice as likely to use MDM as all other companies. They are 1.8 times more likely to have data cleansing capabilities and 2.2 times more likely to have the ability to optimize queries.

Other results of Aberdeen’s competitive maturity assessment showed an average of 39 days average time to integrate new data sources (versus 8.9 months for laggards), 60 percent decrease in time to information (compared to 10 percent for laggards), and 81 percent of analytical employees have access to BI (whereas laggards have only 23 percent). These outstanding companies had an 18 percent average year-over-year profit margin increase, compared to the 12 percent industry average.

"Companies of all shapes and sizes are seeing an explosion in the volume and complexity of data that crosses their doorstep," says Michael Lock, research analyst and author of the study. "What distinguishes a top performer from a laggard is the ability to leverage that data for better business insight, rather than letting it wither away into archival."

Based on these findings, Aberdeen recommends automating capture and indexing of growing data volumes, assessing organizational data needs across silos, and investing in data cleansing technologies.

Lock's report is available for free from Aberdeen Research until March 5, 2010.

Read Jim Ericson’s recent blog on IT budgets to see how these recommendations will meet with reality in the coming year. 

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