Failure to exploit information loses UK economy £67 billion a year

Publish date:

Capgemini UK plc today released ‘The Information Opportunity’ a report highlighting the estimated annual costs associated with frustrated
decision making across UK businesses and public sector organisations. The report,
based on in-depth interviews with senior leaders from the FTSE350 and UK public
sector organisations, finds that a broken information culture – that is, the values
and behaviours associated with how they collect, use, manage and share information
 – is endemic in the UK and is believed to suppress performance by an average
of 29 per cent. This equates to an annual £46 billion missed opportunity for private
sector profits, and £21 billion in administrative costs across the public sector.

Ramesh Harji, Head of Information Exploitation at Capgemini UK, commented: “We found C-level executives freely admitting failings in their organisational
information culture. Failure to properly exploit information is keeping Britain’s
bosses in the dark and affecting our international competitiveness.”

Three key factors are identified in the report as suppressing business performance:

  • Frustrated decision making – 63 per cent of survey respondents faced making crucial business decisions
    without the correct information on a daily basis, whilst 28 per cent experienced
    this frustration up to five times a day. This is predicted to get worse as 93
    per cent of those interviewed report a significant increase over the last five
    years in the number of critical business decisions they are being asked to make.
  • Information islands – Organisations face growing volumes of information on which to base decisions,
    36 per cent of respondents report a doubling in the volume of information available
    to them over the past five years. Executives agree that a failure to share this
    mounting information include financial losses (46 per cent of respondents) and
    increased operational costs (also 46 per cent).
  • Fragmented truths – Failure to obtain a single version of the “truth” was identified by 46% of
    respondents as a key reason for an organisation’s failure to innovate, with many
    firms holding multiple versions of the same data often within the same departments. 

Collectively this “information frustration” results in a 29 per cent hit to British
organisational performance with business decision makers highlighting increased
operational costs (47 per cent of those interviewed), financial losses (43 per
cent), reputation damage (40 per cent) and loss of customers (38 per cent) as
the major consequences.

Harji added: “Organisations are generating increasing volumes of information,
but this simply isn’t reaching decision makers in time. The UK must begin to value
information as a business asset and in doing so ensure that any investments in
IT solutions are not just quick fixes, but actively enhance and improve the information

80 per cent of business decision makers see addressing the “Information Opportunity”
as a crucial driver of business performance, with 55 per cent of respondents listing
it as one of their top three priorities for their organisations. Encouragingly
85 per cent of those questioned felt that investment in information culture was
already delivering value for money and the report recommends three priority areas
for further investment:

  • Staff skills – Organisations must establish information exploitation as a critical skill
    for their employees. This change is vital with the report attributing information
    “silos” to staff mindsets that “knowledge is power”. Just under a third (31 per
    cent) of those questioned identified staff skills and organisational policies
    as key barriers to effective information exploitation.
  • Corporate Asset – The report recommends that organisations treat information as a strategic
    corporate asset and invest accordingly. Delivery of an effective information culture
    should be driven by the business, throughout the business. Interestingly, 9 out
    the top 10 barriers to information exploitation were non-systems related. Major
    non-systems related barriers identified included: information quality (36 per
    cent), policies and procedures (32 per cent), information security (31 per cent),
    staff skills (31 per cent) and user culture (30 per cent).
  • Leadership – The creation and maintenance of an effective information culture must be led
    from the top, with CEOs instilling a more disciplined approach to managing business
    critical information in their workforces.  A significant minority of decision
    makers reported a lack of leadership (23 per cent) and clear roles and responsibilities
    (18 per cent) in managing information within their organisations.

About Capgemini

Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and
outsourcing services, enables its clients to transform and perform through technologies.
Capgemini provides its clients with insights and capabilities that boost their
freedom to achieve superior results through a unique way of working – the Collaborative
Business Experience – and through a global delivery model called Rightshore®, which aims to offer the right resources in the right location at competitive
cost. Present in 36 countries, Capgemini reported 2007 global revenues of EUR
8.7 billion and employs over 83,000 people worldwide.

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