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Conclusion 02: Pros and Cons
Data architecture may seem esoteric, but the benefits of doing it well are real. Both easy data access and organizational success are related to employee satisfaction with data, although only one benefit is enjoyed by more than about half of our respondents. Meanwhile, financial losses due to architecture problems can be substantial, though successful firms report fewer negative effects.
Our respondents point to a variety of business benefits they derive from their data architectures, though none stand out. Fifty-three percent of respondents say their current architecture is helping their organization meet its internal business needs, followed by the ability to meet customer demands and to analyze customer data, at 45% and 44%, respectively.
The weakest links in data architecture are lack of staff resources (53%), the length of time data is stored (45%) and the limitations of legacy systems (44%). But larger companies are far more likely to see legacy systems (51% versus 38%) and the lack of involvement by the business side in data architecture issues (41% versus 29%) as challenges, probably because of the sheer size of the organization.
Less successful companies are more often stymied by their inability to respond quickly to changing business conditions, 67% versus 52%, and their inability to meet customer demands, 48% versus 34%.
Estimates for how much the business has lost due to problems with data architecture are most likely just guesses. Still, the median amount of money lost in the past two years due to such problems for organizations with employees more satisfied with data access is $100,000, compared with $500,000 for those less satisfied. The bigger wake up call: 10% of all respondents claim to have lost more than $8 million.