BUSINESS LEADERS IDENTIFY SKILLS SHORTFALL AMONG EMPLOYEES RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING INFORMATION

Iron Mountain study reveals concern about the lack of analytic and strategic skills required to release full value from information

For information professionals and the business leaders they support, the most critical information management skills that businesses will need over the coming years are the ability to add value to information through insight and analysis, combined with a strategic outlook and awareness of business goals. However, a new study[i] from Iron Mountain reveals that both groups agree these skills are currently the weakest.

weThe survey of senior business executives and records and information professionals in 900 mid-sized European and North American organisations found that information management is changing fast to embrace shifting business priorities. Half (49 per cent) of European information managers believe their role and responsibilities have changed significantly over the last five years. The adjustment required to meet these emerging business needs is also exposing some worrying skills gaps.

The research revealed a consistent view held by senior executives and information professionals on which skill sets will be most critical to businesses over the next few years, and on the current shortage of such skills among records and information managers.

More than one in four (28 per cent) EU records and information managers and a similar number (30 per cent) of EU business decision makers identified the ability to add value to information through insight and analysis, rather than just request factual content, as the single most critical skill set for records managers. The second skill set critical to records managers was the need for a strategic outlook and awareness of wider business goals, chosen by 23 per cent of information managers and 29 per cent of business leaders.

However, when it comes to current competence, four in ten business leaders and their records and information professionals feel there is room for improvement in strategic outlook and understanding of wider business goals. The ability to effectively add value to information through strategic insight and analysis is a more contentious area, with business executives having a lower opinion of information managers’ ability (45 per cent have concerns) than the professionals themselves (38 per cent are worried).

“Our study reveals a worrying gap between current skill levels and future needs. Simply put, many responsible for managing the company’s information today lack the skills required to manage it tomorrow, according to their employers.

“Companies wishing to harness the full business value of information should look to close this gap and close it quickly,” said Sue Trombley, managing director of thought leadership at Iron Mountain.

“Business leaders and records and information management professionals carry a responsibility for achieving this. Business leaders need to ensure their information management teams are effectively integrated into all areas of the business and have access to the professional development they need. However, records and information managers will need to take on the challenge of developing the skills demanded to navigate a shifting information landscape.”

[i]Coleman Parkes for Iron Mountain. Coleman Parkes surveyed business decision makers and records and information managers at 900 organisations with between 250 and 999 employees, within the healthcare, public sector, retail, legal, financial services/insurance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and energy sectors, in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany and in the US.  Research was undertaken online in January/February 2015.

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