Older companies wiser about using information

Mid-market businesses aged six and over are twice as likely to have measures in place for making the most of information, compared to their younger counterparts, according to a new report by storage and information management firm, Iron Mountain and PwC.

The study questioned 1,800 senior business leaders, divided equally between Europe and North America mid-sized companies and enterprises.

The survey results show that somewhere between their fifth and sixth birthdays, many mid-market companies start to introduce robust processes for prioritising and sharing valuable information more widely across the business, and ensuring that these other functions have the skills they need to derive value from it.

With most product or service lifecycles now lasting around five to seven years, the research suggests that many mid-market companies experience an information epiphany when the products or services with which they launched the business start to approach their end-of-life.

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Companies that have been in business for six years or more are twice as likely as the younger group to make valuable and sensitive company information available to research and development (31 per cent compared to 17 per cent); marketing (27 per cent compared to 13 per cent); finance (26 per cent compared to 19 per cent); and management (43 per cent compared to 27 per cent).

This wider access to information is matched by a commitment to skills. The study shows that between five and six years of age, the ability to extract value from information jumps from 16 to 28 per cent in R&D, from 14 to 27 per cent in marketing and from 19 to 31 per cent in management.

This significant step-change in the way information is managed and used is also evidenced elsewhere in the study. One in three (32 per cent) of companies that have been in business for fewer than six years admit that they are unaware of exactly what information the organisation holds and where it is stored. By the time the business is six, this figure has dropped to 14 per cent, and nearly half (45 per cent) both have, and monitor the effectiveness of, a full information inventory.