Information management ‘best IT project for ROI’

12 Sep 2006

Close to one third of Irish CFOs (chief financial officers) have said that improving the quality of information management will be a key business challenge over the next 12 to 18 months, new research has found.

The research was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and revealed as part of the Info Ireland event taking place in Dublin today and tomorrow. It uncovered that around 75pc of firms cited problems due to inaccurate data, resulting in higher costs and a failure to meet strategic objectives.

AIIM, the international association for enterprise content management and event co-organiser, claimed that document management and forms-scanning projects have a better return on investment than other areas of IT spend. In a poll, 40pc of organisations characterised their return on investment in these areas as “better” or “much better” than other IT investments. A further 47pc found the returns to be consistent with other tech projects, AIIM found.

John Mancini, president of AIIM, said: “Capturing these documents and forms to digital, and re-engineering the subsequent processes, is producing significant productivity improvements with the added bonus of ongoing control of records for compliance.”

One of the event speakers, Justin Scanlan of PwC’s performance improvement section, commented: “Following PwC’s data management survey, three out of four companies reported ‘significant problems’ as a result of inaccurate data that led to added costs, failure to meet strategic objectives, poor service and eroded shareholder value among them. Information management is no longer an IT issue and is now firmly on the corporate agenda.”

In a presentation, Gerry Walker of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that the organisation is now analysing and reporting data 40pc faster than previously due to new technology developments. “The introduction of scanning and recognition with integrated coding and validation enabled the CSO to reduce the total headquarter staff input in Census 2002 by 40pc over Census 1996,” he said.

Moreover, speedier processing implemented between Census 1996 and Census 2002 meant that the CSO was able to publish principal demographic data a month earlier and to release principal socio-economic data half a year earlier than previously. “Having the images online allowed production of place of work data which was not possible using the previous paper-based system,” said Walker.

By Gordon Smith