The rise of technologies such as big data, cloud computing, social networking and mobile interactions is likely to lead to major challenges for many firms in the coming years if they do not put solutions in place to manage their constantly-growing digital assets.

Research firm Gartner notes that many companies will not be able to cope with this huge rise in both structured and unstructured information, which could have a serious impact on their overall performance.

In fact, the research firm predicted that by 2017, one-third of Fortune 100 companies will be facing an “information crisis” due to their inability to effectively value, govern and trust their enterprise data.

Andrew White, research vice-president at Gartner, warned that there is an overall lack of maturity when it comes to treating information as a business asset. Many firms may currently only be seeking to maintain their big data programs rather than manage them for competitive advantage.

“When we say ‘manage’, we mean ‘manage information for business advantage’, as opposed to just maintaining data and its physical or virtual storage needs,” said Mr White. “In a digital economy, information is becoming the competitive asset to drive business advantage, and it is the critical connection that links the value chain of organizations.”

Therefore, being able to analyze this big data quickly and accurately is likely to be a crucial capability that can ensure the success of a business and help it stand out from its competitors.

Gartner warned that to do this, such initiatives must be integrated throughout an entire organization, so that all relevant data can be included and personnel across the business can have access to the results.

At present, more than three-quarters of individual information management initiatives are isolated from one another within the same organization, which the firms said leads to enterprise information management projects not being sustained or fully exploited.

“With effective information governance, business users will understand the impact of poor quality data on the outcome of desired business processes. This understanding leads to a desire, on behalf of the end user, to assure or ‘steward’ the data so that it supports their day-to-day business activities,” said Mr White.