To put the data avalanche in perspective, consider this: Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently estimated there were "Five exabytes (billion gigabytes) of information created from the dawn of civilization through 2003. That much information is now created every two days and the pace is increasing." The volume of Information has become so huge that it can now bury entire departments!
This barrage of data brings with it both challenges and opportunities. Expectedly, the large data types and volumes raise questions about the availability of expertise to structure and analyze it. Amongst the top "to-do" items that business leaders must address is creating the expertise to understand the data.
With business processes becoming collaborative, enterprises are stumbling across the challenges in uncovering insights locked within their data. What stands between an enterprise and a successful strategy for managing data and information? The key factors are:
- The deluge of both structured and unstructured data that customers and employees produce and consume - not only is the volume of data overwhelming, its complexity is staggering.
- Siloed storage - often, the data is in silos across the enterprise, and is therefore difficult to access. The quality of the data is uncertain, rendering it unreliable. Data formats are not necessarily standardized. Before being able to share and use the data across the enterprise, these hurdles must be crossed through effective integration.
- Integration complexities and changing technology landscape - technologies to move, manage, organize, retrieve, mask and secure the data is becoming complex. In addition, organizations have a fragmented response to the challenges. They struggle with their information architecture, they are uncertain about the tools to use, the IT complexity is daunting, expertise is lacking, data stewards are not identified or their roles are not clearly defined and the poor quality of data hampers successful deployment of business intelligence tools.
The outcome is a lack of trust in enterprise data. Bringing these initiatives together into a coherent strategy is vital for the effective use of corporate information.
Organizations need a strategy, which ensures that valuable information is consistently available to the key stakeholders across the enterprise at the right time. An information strategy blueprint must move organizations from a network of silos to an integrated enterprise-wide information infrastructure, which enables a single version of the truth. The goal is to unleash value by leveraging information as a strategic enterprise asset.
Organizations that create a strategy to leverage data and information can rapidly adopt platforms with information management tools. Having an astute and dependable information strategy will have an impact on a company's ability to do business better by improving its ability to make smarter decisions at every level.