Enterprises are sitting on stock piles of data. Only a few years ago a terabyte sized data warehouse was considered large. Today, a large data warehouse contains petabytes (1 petabyte = 1000 terabyte) of data. So what are organizations doing with all of this data?

In the past decade, we’ve seen business intelligence and data warehousing initiatives mature to leverage information for improving strategies and decision-making. Yet, most employees agree that they still do not have access to all of the information they need to do their jobs. And those that have access to information, do not fully trust it.

Since the recession began, organizations have sustained growth through maximizing employee productivity. However, in order to continue top line growth, they need to look for new ways to grow the business. One key way is to leverage an existing asset that is considerably underutilized today…and I don’t mean employees!

I am referring to the stock piles of data or information captured in structured systems like databases and enterprise applications, and unstructured data containing text-based information found in CRM call logs, documents, and emails.

By leveraging information as strategic asset, companies can greatly benefit from improving customer relationships and driving new business. With the right information, you have the ability to know your business and customers better than ever before. Since much of this information may already be captured in various places like CRM systems, customer support logs, and website traffic; the challenge is not whether you have the information, it’s about how you can get to the right information. With a unified view of enterprise information, you gain insights into what customers are buying, what they want, and how they feel about your company’s products and services.

Enterprise information management is a practice that allows organizations to make sense of their massive amount of enterprise data and use it to drive better decisions and operational efficiencies. The reality is that this is not a new concept. In fact, your organization may be doing various aspects of it with programs for data governance, master data management, data quality, and data integration.  However, to truly manage information for the enterprise, organizations need to consider a holistic program that governs and provides information for enterprise use, not just for a department or silo’d application. To learn more, visit www.sap.com/analytics/ and read the compelling research on “Managing Enterprise Information: Architecting for Survival and Positioning for Success in Tough Times”.

– Philip On, Director of Marketing, Enterprise Information Management at SAP