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1 July 2013

Poorly-managed data "a growing business risk"

Content team

Many firms may believe they are reducing their risk when using business intelligence information and big data to guide decision-making, but in many cases this could be doing more harm than good as they are not using the tools properly.

This is according to Eddie Short, head of business intelligence at KPMG, who told an audience at the recent Cloud World Forum in London that there is a perception that all companies have to do in order to be successful is implement processes for using information and improvements will simply follow.

However, in reality, if companies do not study the data they gather carefully they are in danger of misinterpreting the information, making risk management strategies based on this ineffective.

A common mistake is for businesses to assume that access to new technology will make analysing information easy for anyone to do. Mr Short added that while business intelligence solutions can give users more certainty in their decision-making, it offers no guarantees that firms will make the right choices.

He said: "Since big data became the 'must have' business fashion accessory many organisations have lost their focus about the information that can make a real difference to their bottom line."

It is often the case they companies become too fixated on the 'three Vs' of big data, which are volume, velocity and variety - in other words, how much data is collected, how fast it is gathered and the range of details included.

But this means key issues such as employing better governance and understanding what is most needed to grow the company or mitigate risk are often lacking.

Mr Short said that firms therefore need to be focusing more closely on two other Vs - value and veracity - to be successful.

Data insights from business intelligence platforms never appear fully formed and it will be up to enterprises to ensure they have skilled staff that can apply analytic models and avoid incorrect conclusions.

"If they don't, poor quality data will remain at the heart of organisational decision-making and the only thing that will increase will be operating cost inefficiencies and customer experience issues," Mr Short concluded.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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