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Finding Value in the Information Explosion

Modern enterprises are awash with data, and in most organizations the volume of data is expanding by 35%-50% every year. Today’s companies process more than 60 terabytes of information annually, about 1,000 times more than a decade ago. Moreover, most of the data companies collect, create and manage today are unstructured "Ò located in word processing documents, spreadsheets, images and video that can’t easily be retrieved or interpreted. How well are companies managing the data explosion and capitalizing on the opportunities it presents? To what extent are they extracting value from the data at their disposal?

To answer these questions, the authors and their colleagues from seven IT research centers studied data- and information-related activities at 26 corporations and large nonprofit organizations in the United States. The research shows that while the IT unit is extremely competent at storing and protecting data, it cannot make key decisions that turn data into increased business value.

To maximize the business benefits of the information explosion while minimizing its costs and risks, management must clarify accountabilities. Responsibility for data stewardship can, to a large extent, be assigned to the IT unit, but business leaders must take responsibility for defining the data value proposition and delivering on it.

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