Senior executives are well aware of the importance of information in carrying out their role, yet few organizations have a formal approach to assessing and improving the quality of this information. Ask those same executives whether they have access to precisely the information they require, and a variety of reasons will emerge as to why the existing provision is deficient, ranging from incomplete views, poor quality, and inferior presentation, through to issues of information overload, timeliness, and accessibility.
Within the IT function, increasing attention is paid to the “upstream” end of the process, with greater focus on technologies such as data quality, metadata management, and data integration, but there is little linkage between this aspect and the “downstream” activities of consuming and applying information to meet business requirements. The result is a gap between information need and information delivery, which prevents organizations realizing full value from their information assets, and leads to additional costs and inefficiencies in information processing. I believe that this must become an end-to-end process of information governance, if organizations are to be successful in improving the quality of their management information.
This issue has become particularly topical in the context of the big data and analytics strategies that are creating opportunities for deeper insight into both strategic and operational business decisions. The combination of new sources of data, improved methods, and enhanced processing technologies is driving the evolution of the business intelligence and analytics infrastructure, but this will be of little value if data management capabilities are not similarly upgraded to support this change.
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