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Managers spend two hours a day looking for information they need, and almost half the data is useless once they get it, according to a study from Accenture.

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Middle managers waste hours a week hunting down data, a new survey finds. And IT managers are among the most frustrated data seekers.

The average middle manager spends about two hours a day looking for data, according to a study by Accenture of 1,009 managers at U.S. and U.K. companies with annual revenue of more than $500 million. IT managers spend 30% of their time trying to pin down information relevant to their jobs, a higher share than managers in HR, accounting, customer service, and sales and marketing.

chart: Can't Take It -- IT managers' data complaints


Once they obtain the hard-sought information, half of it has no value to their jobs, the study finds.

It's a harsh picture of how companies and their IT departments are equipping knowledge workers. More than 40% of IT managers say they suffer from information overload but at the same time can't get the data they need from other departments (see chart, left). Accenture senior executive Greg Todd blames information silos of structured data, unstructured data such as PDF files and images of scanned documents, and business intelligence data that often can't be shared.

E-mail can be a data pit: 84% of managers store information on hard drives or e-mail and don't share data that might be relevant to others. Just 16% use collaborative tools such as intranets to share information.

Argo Turboserve, a parts distributor for the nuclear and aerospace industries, is taking on this challenge with a document management project to make it easier for managers to retrieve key information, says CIO Art Johnston. Among other changes, digitized documents will be stored on DVD carousels rather than hard disks, and it will use Microsoft SharePoint to share documents.

About the Author(s)

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee

Senior Writer, InformationWeek

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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