Iron Mountain Asks: Does Your Data Management Strategy Leave Room for Innovation?

Many organisations lack the technical or cultural knowledge to turn their data management strategy into a competitive tool, according to a new Iron Mountain/PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report. Yet it is possible to identify and act on improvement opportunities and become a part of the Information Elite.

The best data management strategy is really a business strategy. Well-managed data can deliver insights that give you a competitive advantage. But it's tough to exploit your information effectively as it expands by the exabyte.

Earlier this year, Iron Mountain teamed with PwC to ask 1,800 senior business executives in North America and Europe a series of 36 questions. Their mission: Learn how organisations are applying core capabilities to achieve an information advantage. Their weighted answers comprise the Information Value Index, which rates data management success on a scale of 1 to 100.

Key Takeaways:

  • Average score: 50.1
  • Highest scoring sector: Financial Services (52.5)
  • Lowest scoring sector: Legal (47.0)

Many of the organisations surveyed can't yet manage, protect and extract value from their data to gain a competitive advantage.

Meet the Misguided Majority

More than seven out of ten respondents fell into what researchers call the Misguided Majority. These organisations tend to see data as a technology by-product for the IT department to manage on its own. As a result, they are letting legacy strategies, corporate culture and/or regulatory issues compromise the ability to unlock greater value from their data.

These organisations also fail to see the link between information value and information risk. Since risk and value work in tandem, it's essential to strike a balance between protecting information and extracting greater value from it.

Behold the Information Elite

The few survey respondents who scored 90 or higher comprise what researchers dub the Information Elite. These mostly young, midsize and forward-thinking firms don't let legacy thinking impede their momentum.

Because these companies tend to inhabit more lightly regulated sectors, they enjoy greater latitude to innovate, maintaining effective information governance in key areas well beyond the IT department's oversight. These key areas include: marketing, finance, research and development, risk, records and information management, human resources and data analysis.

How to create revitalized, competitive data management strategy:

  • Create an information governance oversight group. Include all functional areas, and get buy-in from senior leadership.
  • Treat information as a valuable asset. Develop a culture of evidence-based decision-making.
  • Protect sensitive and valuable information using robust controls, while ensuring easy access to secured information.
  • Don't rely on spreadsheets. Use fit-for-purpose data analysis, interpretation and visualisation tools to get more from your data.
  • Employ data analysts who are fluent in business strategy and who can link their findings to your key performance indicators.

With these best practices in place, you can set up your organisation to enhance productivity, improve the customer experience and strengthen decision making. These enhancements can help you seize new opportunities needed to gain customers and boost sales.

If you're not yet a part of the Information Elite, you can join this exclusive group. It all starts when you make key changes to your governance, data storage and analysis and culture. For more information, view the Information Value Index from PwC and Iron Mountain.