Need for Business Intelligence Grows: Too Much Information, Not Enough Insight

A new IDC study says managing information overload is a pressing need for organizations today.

Business intelligence is today's tech priority for a reason: Information is growing at an exponential rate. Information contained in enterprises worldwide is expected to reach 120,000 petabytes by 2010, according to a new survey by IDC (a sister company to CIO's publisher). The study, commissioned by Teradata, surveyed 1,072 line-of-business executives and IT professionals in 22 countries.

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As information grows, the need for organizations to manage it and make it actionable grows as well. Getting that information in a timely manner—and to the right people in the right places, throughout an organization—is an important means to enterprise success.

Here's a snapshot of today's information management needs, according to the survey:

  • The amount of information is growing rapidly. Eighty-one percent of respondents say the amount of information available with which to make decisions has "grown significantly" or "increased a lot."
  • We've reached information overload. Seventy-five percent report feeling overloaded with information, and 40 percent rated their degree of being overwhelmed at 4 on a 5 point scale.
  • The need for timely information is more pressing.A third of respondents said access to up-to-date information within seconds or hours is critical to their companies.
  • Accessing unstructured information is difficult but increasingly necessary to decision making. Fifty-five percent of the information dealt with in decision making is unstructured—for example, e-mails, documents, or images—yet two-thirds of respondents use mostly manual methods to search and access such data.
  • To manage the avalanches of information, business intelligence tools are becoming more widespread. No longer the sole domain of analytical experts in headquarters, single departments or applications, business analytics are used by front-line workers, multiple departments and by users outside the organization. Forty-eight percent of respondents said their front-line staff—call center, bank tellers, and so on—are making more decisions than last year, and 54 percent said front-line staff had business intelligence solutions to support them. And 24 percent of respondents allow customers to access their business intelligence applications, 21 percent allow suppliers, and 20 percent distributors.
  • Timely business intelligence has become mission critical to many enterprises. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that if a business intelligence system was down one day or less, they expected a materially negative impact to business operations. Twenty-one percent said negative results would come from a downtime of one hours or less.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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