It goes by many terms - information overload, analysis paralysis, data dumping, and so on. You know what we're talking about. It is indeed greater to live in the information age with a plethora of digital technologies at your fingertips giving you access almost instantly to massive amounts information. But is all of that information really useful? Do you find yourself spending hours on end searching through that vast amount of information to find exactly what you need? Are search engines really good at helping you quickly locate the exact information you need?
Those are very important questions in the business world. Time is money, and time spent looking for the right information is wasted time and therefore an increased cost which results in a decrease in profits. An Accenture study of 1,009 managers at U.S. and U.K. companies with annual revenues exceeding $ 500 million in revenues revealed the following starting facts:
- IT managers spend 30 percent of their time trying to find information relevant to their jobs.
- 42 percent say they are bombarded by too much information.
- 44 percent complain that other departments don't share data.
- 39 percent can't figure out which information is current.
- 38 percent often receive duplicate data.
- 21 percent don't understand the value of the information once they receive it.
- 84 percent say they store information on hard drives or e-mail and don't share data that might be relevant to others.
- Only 16 percent state that they use collaborative tools, essentials tools for sharing information.
Information is a critical and valuable resource to any organization. It can easily be shared and used by many people, unlike other resources such as money. Knowing the right information about your competitors, your own internal operations, and your customers can yield a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.
From a personal point of view, having the right information is essential as well. It will help you pick the right classes to take and when. It can make you more efficient and effective in writing term papers. It can help you with your taxes, plan your retirement, and determine which car best fits within your budget and meets your needs.
1. Critically evaluate the bulleted list of information-related items in this case study. How are each contradictory to the notion of being an information-literate knowledge worker?
2. Consider again Figure 1.1 and the steps presented for determining which technologies are most appropriate in an organization. Why is this process so important? During each of the four steps in that the decision process, what information should be derived and used in the next step?
3. Again, considering the four steps in determining which technologies are most appropriate in an organization, for the information you identified as crucial to be derived during each step in Question 2, which of that information is internal, external, objective, or subjective information? Which information is some combination of internal, external, objective, or subjective?
4. Is it ethical for people in an organization to withhold information and not share it with other employees? Under what circumstances would it be acceptable not to share certain types of information with other employees? What can organizations do to encourage their employees to share information?
5. What about your personal life at your school? How easy is it to find the following information on your school's Web site?
- The course description for the classes you are currently taking.
- A list of classes you need to take to complete your degree.
- The requirements you must meet to qualify for various types of government-supported loan programs.
- The process you go through to apply for graduation.
6. Overall, how would you rate your school's Web site in terms of providing the information you need? How would you rate your school's Web site in terms of allowing you to process your own transactions, such as signing up for a class, scheduling time with an advisor, and so on?