Managers failing to control information, survey finds

Middle managers spend more than a quarter of their time searching for information necessary to do their jobs, and when they do find it, it is often wrong, said business consultant Accenture.

Middle managers spend more than a quarter of their time searching for information necessary to do their jobs, and when they do find it, it is often wrong, said business consultant Accenture.

Accenture conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 middle managers of large companies in the US and the UK to discover the way they gathered, used and analysed information.

Among the key findings, it was discovered that managers spend up to two hours a day searching for information, and more than 50% of the information obtained had no value to them. 

In addition, only half of all managers believed their companies do a good job in governing information distribution or have established adequate processes to determine what data each part of an organisation needs.

“Companies are failing to get the right information to their employees,” said Royce Bell, CEO of Accenture Information Management Services (AIMS). 

“People and organisations cannot keep up with the volume of information produced by technological innovation.  Managers in particular are having great difficulty navigating a rapidly expanding sea of information, and the situation is only getting worse.”

Part of the difficulty lies in the way managers are gathering and storing information, said Accenture.

For instance, the majority of managers in the survey said they store their most valuable information on their computer or individual e-mail accounts, with only 16% using a collaborative workplace such as a company’s intranet portal.

The survey found that nearly three out of five respondents (59%) said that as a consequence of poor information distribution, they miss information that might be valuable to their jobs almost every day, because it exists somewhere else in the company and they just can’t find it. 

In addition, 42% of respondents said they accidentally used the wrong information at least once a week, and 53% said that less than half of the information they receive is valuable.

Also, 45% of respondents said that gathering information about what other parts of their company are doing is a big challenge, whereas only 31% said that competitor information is hard to get.

More than half (57%) of respondents said that having to go to numerous sources to compile information is a difficult aspect of managing information for their jobs. 

In order to get information about competitors, customers, project responsibility or another department, respondents said they have to go to three different information sources, on average. 

In addition, 40% of respondents said that other parts of the company are not willing to share information, and 36% said there is so much information available that it takes a long time to actually find the right piece of data.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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