CIOs are struggling to create order from chaos amidst the information explosion

For the modern CIO, the greatest risk is loss of control over their information. Also known as “digital creep” this was one of the key concerns for many of the CIOs who participated in our recent CIO survey.

We conducted in-depth interviews with a range of CIOs from government and regulated industries to uncover the key challenges their organisations face when it comes to managing information, and how they plan to address these over the coming months and years.

Among their concerns was managing the vast amounts of information being created, with 41% of CIOs pinpointing information sprawl as their top challenge in managing information.

The full findings from the survey are summarised in our new insight paper: How CIOs are Taming the Information Sprawl.

You can also read more findings from the report in these blog posts:

Information explosion is opening up CIOs to increased risk

The intense focus on digital creep among CIOs is no surprise when you consider the amount of content we produce. Just over a decade ago, the world’s entire data storage capacity was around 487 exabytes. By 2025, it’s estimated that we’ll be creating the same volume in under two days.

CIOs in the public sector are dealing with an information explosion from two angles: both incoming information from the public, and information created within their organisations. Much of this information is stored in silos such as network drives, cloud storage systems, line of business systems and email.

This ungoverned information opens the organisation up to greater reputational, legal and security risks. For example, we've seen a spike in ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial) information which is resulting in a host of data quality, governance and usability issues.

Personally Identifiable Information at increased risk

An even more concerning trend is the rise in breaches of personally identifiable information (PII). IBM's 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that 80% of businesses had documents that compromised PII.

Another study by cybersecurity firm Varonis found that at 15% of organisations, more than a million files were accessible to every employee of the company, including documents with sensitive personal information.

We’re data rich but information poor

There was a consensus among the CIOs we surveyed that their organisations are “data rich but information poor”.

And many are looking for ways to connect and synthesise this information in order to gain insights and value from it. At the same time, there was a strong sense of the need to balance this potential with the need to remain compliant with recordkeeping legislation, a consideration that remains a top priority for organisations in the public sector and regulated industries.

As they plan for a digital future, the CIOs we interviewed are working towards a holistic approach to information management.

But 21% of CIOs said their organisation lacked a broader information and data management strategy, and many felt their information managers were more focused on records than the broader information management strategy.

These were just some of the insights uncovered in our CIO survey. If you’re interested in learning more about the challenges facing CIOs in the public sector and regulated industries, download our insight paper: How CIOs are Taming the Information Sprawl.