Two-thirds of businesses unable to make the most of their information – and a quarter derive no benefit at all

Iron Mountain and PwC launch new Information Value Index to help companies benchmark their own performance

BOSTON – September 24, 2015 – Just four percent of businesses are able to extract the full value from the information they hold, with over a third (36 percent) lacking the tools and skills they need to do so, according to new research from storage and information management company, Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) and PwC. As a result, 43 percent of the European and North American companies surveyed obtain little tangible benefit from their information, and 23 percent derive no benefit whatsoever.

The study questioned 1,800 senior business leaders, divided equally between Europe and North America, in mid-sized (over 250 employees) and enterprise-level organizations (over 2,500 employees). 

The results of the study have been used to create an Information Value Index that measures how well businesses in different countries currently manage their information for competitive advantage. With an average score of 50.1 out of an ideal score of 100 (52.9 in North America and 47.3 in Europe), the index confirms that the vast majority of businesses ‒ regardless of size, geography or sector ‒ have a long way to go before they can fully realize the value from their information.

The findings show that, despite the belief held by 75 percent of North American business leaders that they are already making the most of their information, a look at the resources their organizations currently have in place tells a very different story.

One in five of those surveyed does not employ data analysts to extract value from information, or lacks the data interpretation skills or insight application capabilities required to turn information into the decision-ready facts, targeted marketing campaigns, improved processes and innovation that deliver a return on information.

The study also reveals that many organizations are failing to effectively manage their information as it travels through the business. Nearly one in five doesn’t believe the organization knows what information it holds (16 percent), how it flows through the business and where it is either most valuable (23 percent) or most vulnerable (20 percent).

“Every organization we spoke to wants to use its information to operate and compete more effectively, but too many are held back by a lack of specific skills, technical capabilities and their corporate culture. The impact of these gaps is felt at the highest levels of the business. Around a quarter of C-suite executives say they have yet to experience any benefits from information in terms of increased speed and confidence in decision-making, faster product development, cost savings or new customer acquisition or retention. Managing information for competitive advantage is vital for long-term business success and belongs at the very top of the company agenda,” states Sue Trombley, managing director of thought leadership, Iron Mountain.

Commenting on the research, Richard Petley from PwC says that information is among the most undervalued assets in the commercial world: “Every transaction with a customer and every interaction with a stakeholder delivers market intelligence, customer insight, an opportunity for innovation and the potential for profit. Yet our Information Value Index shows that only four in a hundred businesses are sweating their information assets to create competitive advantage. When it comes to information management, many of the world’s leading organizations don’t know what they don’t know and aren’t trying to find out. In a 24/7 digital world, information is insight and insight is power and the falling cost of technology means it has never been easier to harness information and use this like any other asset in the business. The introduction of our Information Value Index sets a new benchmark against which organizations can measure how their information assets are being exploited.”

To see the full results of the research, please visit: www.ironmountain.com/pwc

Iron Mountain and PwC surveyed 1,800 senior business leaders across a broad range of sectors (energy, financial services, legal services, manufacturing and engineering, healthcare (US only) insurance, pharmaceuticals), in North America (US and Canada) and five European countries (France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK). The responses to 36 of the questionnaire statements in the survey drive and populate the information value index. PwC and Iron Mountain consider these statements to represent the core organisational (governance and culture) and technical capabilities (skills and tools) and the associated benefits that demonstrate an information advantage.

About Iron Mountain:

Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management services. The company’s real estate network of over 67 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers with speed and accuracy. And its solutions for records management, data management, document management, and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit www.ironmountain.com for more information.