Paying the price for flawed data

Jun 29 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The majority of information workers admit to having made bad business decisions because of flawed or incomplete data, leading to lost productivity and increased on-the-job stress.

A survey of workers in the U.S., Great Britain, France, and Germany carried out for business intelligence solutions provider, Business Objects, claims that the widespread use of faulty business data is a dirty little secret in today's business world but is going largely unnoticed by businesses.

It found that almost three-quarters of information workers admitted to having made business decisions that later turned out to be wrong due to incorrect, incomplete, or contradictory business data or information.

Compounding this, only about one in 10 information workers said they always have all the information they need to confidently make business decisions.

Information workers were defined as employed adults who use data from spreadsheets, reports, business intelligence software, executive dashboards, as well as other computer applications used by their employer.

Faulty data also contributes to increased on-the-job stress. The survey revealed that up nine out of 10 information workers have had the data they use to make decisions in their job questioned or challenged by colleagues or supervisors.

Moreover, verifying the accuracy and quality of the data used to make decisions often takes hours. Information workers in the U.S. were found to spend an average of 12 hours per week Ė almost a quarter of their workweek Ė just checking for accuracy.

And this productivity loss carries a huge cost. Twelve hours per week spent on verifying data could cost a 1,000 employee company over $600,000 per week (estimating $50 per hour per employee).

"For any business, information can either be an asset or a liability," said Business Objects' Frank Dravis.

"This survey supports our assertion that many businesses today lack trustworthy data, and they are paying the price for it by making bad decisions and losing productivity.

"By making accurate, complete, and trustworthy data a top priority, organizations can turn this liability into a powerful asset, and empower their people to innovate and improve their business."