A survey from Accenture has confirmed what most of us already knew: we all waste far too much looking for information. And when we do find what we're looking for, as often as not, it turns out to be useless.
In a survey of 1,000 middle managers at large companies in the US and UK, Accenture found that managers spend as long as two hours a day searching for information and more than half of the data they find has no value to them.
Information is often more difficult to find because it's scattered, respondents said. Fifty-seven percent of those polled said that having to go to numerous sources to collect information makes managing data difficult and, on average, the managers said they go to three different sources to find certain types of information.
In addition, rivalries among different divisions within a company exacerbate the problem. Forty percent of respondents said that other parts of their companies aren't willing to share information.
Managers often face additional challenges because they don't save important data in a collaborative place. The majority of the managers surveyed said they store their most valuable information on their computers or individual email accounts, where others can't access it, Accenture said. Only 16 percent of managers said they store valuable data in a collaborative workplace, like an intranet portal.
Just less than half - 42 percent - of those surveyed said that they accidentally use the wrong information at least once a week.
Of all the managers surveyed, IT workers are the least likely to say the information they find is valuable and they spend the most time trying to find it. They dedicate nearly 30 percent of their time trying to find information.
Until companies streamline the way that workers store data, information will continue to be a burden to knowledge workers, Accenture said.
Original reporting by IDG news service