Getting IT professionals to tell you about how poorly the information needs of users are catered for in their organisation is easy. Time and time again, we have run surveys and workshops on The Register that confirm the issues around fragmentation, duplication, inconsistency and how application vendors don't make it easy to get …
Right questions are rare
Not specific to freeform dynamics, but you might admit that dealing with this almost inevitably means very abstract questions put before people with usually a pragmatic and practical focus. Now, they'll deal because it's their job to deal, but it's not really what this audience is cut out for.
One notion I'd like to draw up is that it apparently matters little to management to dig up the right information, there's no incentive, and the users are there to do things but with a resulting lack of direction as to what to do, so they do whatever they think gets them through the day with no high-level guidance. Getting the right information to the right place is a challenge and it's one corporations have to rise to, but it's not IT's job to decide. Until management cares you can't make them drink, and the resulting obvious-to-IT-people systemic inefficiencies are the price to pay for bad management.
Yes, that's right, it's not the fault of IT that the information isn't used the right way, or at all. IT can only deliver the tools, and it can stop pouring effort into data management that isn't used to extract useful information out of. No need to keep it, no need to back it up, no need to bother. There are large immediate gains to be had, even if by doing so you don't realise systemic advantages that you couldn't realise anyway because upstairs nobody is home to take advantage.
Similarly, it's not up to the users to process data any which way until they hopefully end up with usable information. It's up to management to understand what information they need, then have minions to gather the data (which will require tools, often custom ones), process it for a certain purpose, and provide context. Giving meaning to it is an analyst's job, provided the analyst understands the data and knows what questions caused it to be gathered. Oftentimes that will have to be executive management itself.
So far the drive seems to "we have data processing equipment, now let's add as much data as possible and create a feast of buzzwordy goodness and riches for all!" Unsurprisingly it doesn't work that way. Once you know what questions to ask you can go out and seek answers to those questions. Before that you really shouldn't be tempted by the overwhelming power of as-of-yet undelivered but nevertheless synergetic convergent what-have-you I-can-feel-it-it's-there power of information. If you have no questions to answer you don't need data to mine for answers. If you try anyway you'll be turning all those fancy reports into one big question mark: Just how are we going to monetize these many figure investments, eh?
This in lieu of wasting time on another incomprehensibly abstract questionaire.
Another article on Global warming?
Crap data? Weren't you supposed to mention Al Gore Some where?
Rather enjoyed that article
hit, nail springs to head.
IT, even though it should be about Information Technology, is often a misused term, because information is important and is often the stolen Bailiwick of ineffective management.
The truth is, and I am sure most of management cannot handle the truth, is they are in the wrong job.
Technology has moved on such a pace, that their handling of information is something akin to a 3 year old trying to build the Sisteen Chapel from Lego. Management just lack the real skills required for business today.
For the record...
...I did think the rest of the poll was fairly insightful, with relevant questions.