The High Cost of Clean Data

Chief information officers see funding limits as one of the biggest barriers to pursuing ambitious IT projects, according to a recent Accenture study.
Allan RichterSeptember 20, 2007

With several studies over the past three years
showing that chief information officers regard
business intelligence as their top priority, you
might expect a stronger CFO-CIO relationship to
be close at hand. But a recent Accenture survey
found that CIOs regard funding limits as one of
the top obstacles to pursuing ambitious information-
management projects. The goal of information
management is to provide more workers with
access to higher-quality data that is more secure
and better governed, and can help power the nascent
move toward analytics (the linking of various
metrics to drive business performance).

Seventy-five percent of the 160 CIOs in
North America and Europe who were surveyed
said they aim to develop an overall information-management
strategy in the next three years,
versus 25 percent focused on such a strategy
today. But the CIOs ranked a lack of funding,
along with poor data quality, as the top barriers
to their plans.

The two hurdles are closely related.
“Across any industry, the number of people
needed to transform, aggregate, and cleanse
data is much higher than companies realize,”
says Greg Todd, senior executive with Accenture’s
Information Management Services group. Further
complicating the equation is that, while the
cost of the ERP systems that provide much of the
data that business intelligence and analytics
efforts need is high, at
least it’s quantifiable.
These newer information-
efforts are, according
to Forrester Research
analyst Boris Evelson,
multilayered and far
from commoditized.
“It’s an art, not a science,”
he says. Worse,
perhaps, from a CFO’s
point of view is his
warning that information
management “is
not a finite project.”
Todd says attacking it
piecemeal drives up
the cost.

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