Posted January 10, 2007 7:07 pm by with 2 comments

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Accenture Ltd. reports that managers spend up to 2 hours a day searching for information—and more than half of that data they describe as “useless.” The survey of 1000 US and UK managers reveals that managers waste a lot of time on research.

Among the findings:

  • 59% of the managers claim that they miss potentially valuable information “almost every day” because it’s somewhere else in the company.
  • 57% say that having to go to multiple sources for information is a difficult aspect of their jobs.

Some managers blame the vast amounts of available information or having to go to three or more sources to gather data for this shortcoming. Others blame other parts of their own companies for making it difficult to keep track of their activities or access their information. Those info hogs.

Of course, this raises the obvious question: is this the fault of the information or the searchers? Has their search engine or internal content management system of choice failed them as they spend a quarter of their day seeking some tidbit of information? Or are they looking for the wrong information in the first place? Or do they find that perfect statistic quickly and easily, only to later discover that it’s wrong?

Well, 42% “accidentally” use the wrong information at least once a week. Some of the fault must be laid at the feet of the managers. Accenture states that:

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 percent using a collaborative workplace such as a company’s intranet portal.

I know, I know, it’s hard to believe that managers could waste so much time and be so wrong. Probably not a good idea to cite this study when your boss cites a dubious statistic.

In all seriousness, this does pose an opportunity in information retrieval, the science behind search engines. This study makes manifest the need for effective information cataloguing and retrieval methods within a company. Content management, Intranet portals and desktop search engines don’t seem to cut it.

The ability to collaborate and find information within your company’s network is vital in an SEM company of any size. How do you make sure all the right people have all the right information? Can you organize and store your important information to make it more accessible within your company?