conducted a study sponsored by Sybase on the business impact of effective data. In the three-part study, the researchers found that if the median Fortune 1000 company increased the usability of its data by 10%, it could result in an increase of $2.01 billion in revenue and lots of new jobs. Maybe. Let's look at the numbers.The University of Texas
The researchers were looking at quality, usability, mobility and accessibility of data. David Jonker, senior product marketing manager at Sybase, says that companies are missing opportunities with big data.
Not surprisingly, the study finds that companies would benefit from making data more accessible to users. That, says Jonker, includes things like making data available to more users in a company and improving the "intelligence" of data. For instance, Jonker says that in many companies reports that most employees see are standardized – so users don't have the opportunity to explore data and understand it more deeply.
Mobility is important too, especially for sales. Jonker gave an example of drivers delivering goods. He says having mobile devices that could alert them to inventory needs at a store could give companies an opportunity to sell more, and more intelligently.
The report came back with some impressive numbers. According to the report, a median Fortune 1000 company with 36,000 employees and $388,000 in sales per employee could see a boost of 14.4% in sales by making data 10% more accessible.
But it's worth noting there's a lot of conjecture in the study. And that's the median company – see the infographic or reports for all numbers by industry. One example is publishing. The report claims that publishers could increase sales by $400 million, and add 6,577 new editors. The figures are drawn from Department of Labor salary estimates of $61,000 in annual wages, divided by $400 million. It might be a bit optimistic, however, to assume that each publisher would hire new employees to correspond directly with the increases in sales.
Another factor that's left out of the report entirely is the cost of increasing data usability. The increases in sales and reductions in assets that the report predicts are not offset by the costs of making data more usable. Jonker says that in some cases it would reduce costs by reducing the number of data silos – which is likely true. However, it overlooks the costs of implementing the changes and the training costs that would be borne by businesses in the transition.
In short, the study is worth perusing (even if it is annoyingly broken into three PDFs) but take the actual figures with an enormous grain of salt. Improving the usage of data is very likely to benefit a business if there's corresponding training and so on, which will cost money and take time.