Poor information management costs millions a year

Nearly two-thirds of managers believe poor information management is hurting productivity by 29 per cent, according to a survey by Capgemini.

That would cost the UK some 46 billion across the private sector in missed opportunities, and 21 billion in the public sector. Nearly half of executives surveyed said a failure to deal with information lead to financial losses and increased operational costs, as well.

"That was a conservative estimate," said Ramesh Harji, the report's author and head of information exploitation at Capgemini. "Not everybody can get all of that, but can get a little chunk... even one per cent would help a lot."

"They're not throwing money away, but they could do better. We think they should be aspiring for more," he said.

The "Information Opportunity" report suggested such poor control leaves business managers without the right data to make decisions. Some 63 per cent of respondents said they made crucial decisions without the right information, while 28 per cent reported that happened as much as five times a day.

One of the problems is the vast - and increasing - body of information now available. Some 36 per cent said the amount of data now available had doubled in the past five years, leading to respondents struggling to get a clear, singular picture.

"It's not about getting all the information, but understanding what information is critical to making that decision," Harji said.

Of the business decision makers surveyed, 80 per cent see dealing with the problem is key to drive performance, with over half saying it was a top three priority in their company.

The issue isn't just tech, however, as nine out of ten of the top barriers to information exploitation weren't related to systems, but policies, skills and culture. Indeed, battling the issue will require improving staff training, treating information as a corporate asset, and leading information culture from the top, he said.

"We're asking people to do things a bit different... focus on doing what they have been doing but more focus on information and people's skills," he said, adding: "Information is a corporate asset."