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IBM Survey: Businesses Face Risks, Revenue Losses and Fines From Inability to Keep Track of Information


ARMONK, NY .- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled the results of a cross-industry customer survey indicating that businesses need to better inventory their information to help reduce risk and derive more value from their business information.

According to the 2008 Metadata Market Survey conducted by IBM and Gavilan Research Associates, risk mitigation and data governance are key drivers of new projects to better track data through the use of metadata -- which is literally information about information.

Metadata describes data by relating key business and technical information to it, making it possible to index, govern and use valuable corporate information, similar to the way card catalogs supply information about books. Metadata can also be found in many everyday applications. For example, it is even embedded in music where digital music players display song tracks, title information, genre and additional information about the contents of the recording.

Due to growing information management challenges associated with risk, information overload, and regulations, companies are increasingly making it a priority to better understand how their data is accessed or altered, and improve their understanding of the accuracy and completeness of information.

According to the survey, respondents are focused on organizing, reusing and sharing corporate knowledge and keeping up with increasing pressures to supply better information to drive their businesses and remain competitive.

Respondents surveyed said that failure to address the problem of better managing their metadata will result in increased costs to manage and support their business operations and additional risk exposure. The growing significance of this problem is attributed to increasing operational complexities, loss of customer revenue and potential fines from non-compliance with state and government regulations.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that data governance and data stewardship issues were among the top three metadata-related issues or projects they were struggling with, yet 45 percent do not yet have a data governance council or data governance projects underway. Eighty percent of respondents said they are struggling with other information-related issues such as documenting business metadata and 64 percent are documenting metadata for data warehouses, data marts and analytical applications.

“Unfortunately, most companies haven’t solved the problem of effectively managing corporate metadata, as evidenced by the survey results,” said Stu Carty, president and founder of Gavilan Research Associates. “One of the key challenges is coordinating and synchronizing information across disparate tools and information sources leading to better understanding of where information resides and how it is used.”

While the need to search, integrate, and govern data across an enterprise grows, managing metadata is becoming more important since every application needs metadata to operate -- from data warehouses, master data management software and enterprise applications to Web-based applications.

In a business setting, metadata can add context to information to allow it to be better understood, used, and tracked throughout an organization. Spreadsheets, word processing documents, databases and software applications can be enhanced by associating critical metadata such as information about business definitions and ownership, processing rules for moving data, and tracing how information moves through the enterprise impacting applications.

The survey was conducted among more than 300 data management professionals from leading Global 5000 companies throughout the US, Canada and other countries.

IBM offers an industry-unique approach to metadata through its InfoSphere product portfolio, which accelerates the delivery of trusted information throughout an enterprise. InfoSphere products make the capture, maintenance, and association of metadata a natural and active consequence of using the tools.

The InfoSphere portfolio captures metadata from data sources, forms metadata connections across systems, and continuously records metadata to track exactly what happens to data as it is integrated. It also allows business glossaries to be associated to data elements, bridging the gap between business and IT. This allows information to be better understood and trusted, and more easily integrated, both within source systems and as it moves throughout the enterprise.


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