Survey: Businesses Failing to Take Advantage of Information

    Oct 27, 2015

    According to a new survey from PwC and Iron Mountain, all businesses want to maximize the value of their information, but most lack the skills, technology, and culture necessary to do so.

    In fact, the survey, “Seizing the Information Advantage,” reveals that two-thirds of businesses are unable to extract value from their information, and one-quarter derive no benefit at all. Only 4% of businesses can extract full value from the information they hold; over one-third (36%) lack the tools and skills they need to do so. As a result, 43% obtain little tangible benefit from their information, and 23% derive no benefit whatsoever, according to the survey.

    The survey also found a consistent lack of focus when it comes to organizational investment in the right analytical talent, tools, information-led solutions, and value-drive information strategies.

    Surveys were completed by 1,800 senior business leaders in Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. Each was assigned an “Information Value Index,” a score from 1 to 100 measuring the business’s information usage and governance framework. On average, the study reveals, businesses scored a 50.1, which the study authors called “disappointing, though perhaps not unexpected.” According to the index, European businesses scored 47.3%; North America businesses fared a little better, at 52.9%.

    The index confirms that the vast majority of businesses, regardless of geography or sector, have a long way to go before they can realize the value from their information.

    For example:

    • 23% overall (23% in Europe and 21% in North America) lack the data interpretation skills and 23% overall (25% in Europe and 22% in North America) lack the capabilities required to deliver a return on information.
    • 16%-18% in Europe and 12% in North America don’t believe the organization knows what information it holds.
    • 28% (32% in Europe and 23% in North America) don’t believe it knows how information flows through the business and where it is most valuable.
    • 21% (21% in Europe and 20% in North America) don’t believe it knows how information flows through the business and where it is most vulnerable.

    Companies should use the disappointing results as an opportunity, Richard Petley, director of risk and assurance at PwC, wrote in the survey report.

    “The opportunities for competitive advantage through data are very real,” he wrote. “The better organizations have made the value of data tangible and are exploiting it and protecting it in equal measure. What makes these organizations distinctive? The survey demonstrates that this comes from a platform of strong senior leadership, investment in data governance, and best use of analytics both in terms of technology and people.”

    ARMA International suggests that records and information management (RIM) and information governance (IG) professionals exploit this opportunity by using their knowledge of the organization and its records and information to gain value from it. That is, after all, the main objective of initiatives such as knowledge management, big data, data mining, and business intelligence.

    These resources available in ARMA’s online store ( will help you get started:

    • Research Methods for the RIM ProfessionalRIM professionals who have a basic understanding of data analysis and research methods have increased value to their organizations. This book serves as an introduction to research methods and includes examples specifically relevant to archives and RIM professionals.
    • Selling Information Governance to the Business This book provides insight into the best ways to convince businesses of the value of RIM and IG.


  • Legal Tech
  • © 2017, ARMA International