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Most Businesses Withhold Real-time Data From Employees, Says Survey

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Only 40 percent of businesses provide data to their employees in true real time, a survey has found.

This is despite the findings of an Accenture study, which showed that the top long-term objective for a significant majority of executives is to develop the ability to predict behaviours to the point where decisions can be made in real-time. Companies like the British Arab Commercial Bank and high street food retailer EAT have recently deployed technology to enable this capability.

According to the survey from business intelligence solutions provider Information Builders, in 17 percent of businesses, employees have to wait a week or more to access the data.

Seven hundred senior IT decision makers across seven countries, including the UK, responded to the online survey conducted by market research company Vanson Bourne.

On a sector-by-sector basis, just 28 percent of respondents in the private healthcare sector, arguably where real-time data is most critical, said that employees had access to data in real time. This is compared to around 50 percent of respondents in the utilities industry.

The survey also found that UK businesses had more different data sources than firms in other countries - on average eight compared to the global average of six. They were also least likely to have integrated data sources, with only 50 percent saying that their sources were integrated.

Across all 700 respondents, most information is still shared across organisations via spreadsheet-based reports or emails, with 22 percent still using paper-based reports. However businesses in the US and France were more likely to use collaborative tools such as SharePoint, Salesforce and Chatter.

In terms of mobile access to data, the survey found that 30 percent of organisations make company data available through smartphones and 19 percent through tablets. The number of respondents who expect to do this in the future will increase the figures significantly, to 80 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

If this expectation is realised, employees will be able to access company data more through mobile devices than they can via traditional devices today. Currently 70 percent of IT managers make company data available through desktops, and 62 percent through laptops.

Michael Corcoran, senior VP and chief marketing officer for Information Builders, said: "If companies want to increase their competitiveness, they need to improve access to data across all levels of the company. They risk hampering any competitive advantage if they limit the availability for business decisions to desktop or laptop users and overlook other mobile devices.

"At the heart of supporting this goal is the need to create the right infrastructure and support to enable broader access to data over an ever-increasing number of devices, either in real time or using a local device cache."

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