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Mon 3 Nov 2008 12:51 PM

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Companies failing to govern data says EIU

Economist Intelligence Unit survey shows two-thirds of companies don't have proper information governance policies

Almost two-thirds of major companies lack formal information governance policies, according to a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In a survey of senior executives from around the globe, the EIU found that 62% of organizations have yet to define how their business information is accessed, controlled and used, created an increased risk of information leakage, compliance issues and a failure to extract maximum value from the data.

Three-quarters of those surveyed expected information governance to be important to their company’s success in the next three years, while 68|% expect information governance issues to become more complex.

“As firms large and small begin to think more strategically about how information is used and conveyed, creating a standard set of policies and procedures for governing information protection, use and distribution inside and outside the firm will be extremely important,” said Debra D’Agostino, deputy director in the Americas, Industry and Management Research, EIU.

The EIU surveyed 192 senior executives from companies in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, with around half of respondents working for companies with annual revenues of over $1 billion.

The survey, which was sponsored by EMC, found a wide disparity between companies that had information governance policies and those that didn’t.

Half of respondents at companies without governance policies did not rate their company’s ability to protect sensitive data as good, while 43% did not rate their ability to give access to critical data as good, compared to 85% and 92% respectively for companies with formal policies.

More than half of the respondents also did not believe their organization had good ability to share data between departments, and 57% don’t have a single view of their customers.

Frank Hauck, EMC executive vice president, Global Marketing and Customer Quality commented: “Even though the standards for good governance are rising, we find that much of today’s focus around corporate governance leaves information out of the discussion. Carefully managing the relentlessly growing volume of information carries both risk and opportunity for the enterprise.

“Implementing a companywide information governance initiative is one of the most valuable moves corporate leaders can make to create and enforce policies that help ensure information quality, compliance, and protection while increasing its business value,” he added.

The report, The Future of Enterprise Information Governance, is available to download from emc.com .

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