Bad database management leading to 'mayhem' says research

Eight six percent of firms allow non-IT staff to access databases

Businesses have an inconsistent approach to database management, leading to "IT and information mayhem", according to research.

Data integration firm Informatica commissioned Dynamic Markets to survey 601 IT, sales and marketing professionals across the UK, France and Germany about their approaches to managing multiple enterprise databases.

The research showed there was wide differences in who is responsible for the upkeep and accuracy for data held within enterprise databases.

The survey found that 86% of firms allow employees outside of the IT department to access the corporate database, whilst nearly a third (32%) allow access and modification rights to all employees.

The vast majority (94%) of sales and marketing professionals work in departments that own at least one database which they manage and maintain themselves. Among all respondents, on average, they own, manage and maintain nine separate databases per company. In companies with 1,000-plus employees this figure is higher.

"The practical management of corporate databases, which play host to masses of information on a daily basis, and the definition of policies on how to effectively harness and govern this data does not seem to follow any set pattern," said Mark Seager, vice president technology EMEA, at Informatica.

"At best, this could represent a missed opportunity to get ahead of the competition, but at worst it is a plethora of missed customer opportunities waiting to happen, or already happening."

The research, entitled The Data Ownership Dilemma, also suggests such bad practice may be fostering other troublesome habits, creating "a vicious circle of IT and information mayhem", as 80% of sales and marketing departments confessed to purchasing software without going through the official IT or procurement department channels.

More worryingly, this behaviour seems to be condoned by nearly four in 10 (38%) of director-level staff who allow it. The survey reveals that 34% of respondents think that making purchase decisions directly cuts down on internal bureaucracy.

"With no-one taking the reins and with many organisations suffering from unknown data blind spots, IT departments are at risk of losing control of one of the enterprise's most valuable assets," Seager said. "This in turn poses a worrying question - if the IT department isn't in control of this data, who exactly is?"

This story, "Bad database management leading to 'mayhem' says research" was originally published by Computerworld UK.

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