LinkTek Corporation: “Education Gap” between IT and the C-Suite Hampers Organizational Performance in Age of Big Data

To maintain file integrity, especially during data migrations, IT managers need to understand how and why their organization’s data is used. This requires a new level of interdepartmental communication and the use of the right tools, according to LinkTek.

(Clearwater, FL) — Big Data can make all the difference for enterprises looking to glean insight into industry trends and patterns — but many organizations today are grappling with the challenge of how to manage such vast amounts of data when planning for a migration, one of the most challenging tasks an IT manager faces. The margin for error is small when migrating an organization’s data to a new environment, and there are many things that can go wrong. One thing that can go awry, as noted by LinkTek, is broken file links, which can make it difficult or impossible for files to work together properly after a migration.

“Many file link issues, and the post-migration problems they can cause,” says LinkTek Chief Operating Officer Ed Clark, “arise from the fact that IT has traditionally been regarded as an infrastructural service organization with little or no business strategy role.” Network Administrators are often tasked with making changes to the organization’s systems and with storing and protecting data, but have not typically had a compelling need to understand what is in the data or how it is used. Many IT managers, as a result, are only barely aware of the usage of file links in their organizations by their customers, the employees.

This lack of understanding cuts both ways. “The vast majority of an IT department’s end users (the organization’s employees) do not know what a link really is,” Clark says, “and they have no idea what kind of trouble this lack of understanding can cause for their (usually understaffed) IT department. This mutual incomprehension has ramifications that many IT pros aren’t aware of. In fact, from our own contacts within the field — which are daily and extensive — we believe that most IT managers have so much on their plates that they are not aware of all the ramifications.”

Compounding this problem is the fact that a great deal of link-intensive data exists outside the enterprise resource planning environment, much of it in the form of Excel spreadsheets. Economist James Kwak comments, “Microsoft Excel provides enormous capacity to do quantitative analysis, anything from statistical analyses of databases with hundreds of thousands of records to complex estimation tools with user-friendly front ends. As a consequence, Excel is everywhere you look in the business world. For all the talk about end-to-end financial suites like SAP, Oracle, and Peoplesoft, at the end of the day people do financial analysis by extracting data from those back-end systems and shoving it around in Excel spreadsheets.”1

And the existence of all these spreadsheets increases the already considerable challenge inherent in data migrations. Says data migration expert John Morris, “Part of the challenge of enterprise applications migration is that we are often migrating from the residual anarchy of the client server desktop revolution of the 1990s. The so-called ‘spread-net’ of all those linked spreadsheets has created an unseen web of knowledge — a parallel computing universe often undocumented and even unrecognized by the official corporate IT provider. This situation is now exacerbated by the increasing use of smart phones, tablets, and social network type solutions hiding even more knowledge from us poor, hard-pressed IT foot soldiers during data migrations.”(2)

One thing that will help solve this problem, say knowledgeable industry observers, is for business leadership and IT leadership to share information and agree on common goals and metrics — particularly as Big Data becomes more and more important to corporate success. A recent study from McKinsey & Company, noting that data-driven companies are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than other companies, says, “Both the Chief Information Officer and Chief Marketing Officer are on the hook for turning all that data into growth together. It may be a marriage of convenience, but it’s one that CMOs and CIOs need to make work — especially as the worldwide volume of data is growing at least 40 percent a year. That’s why many CMOs are waking up to the fact that IT can’t be treated like a back-office function any more; rather, the CIO is becoming a strategic partner who is crucial to developing and executing marketing strategy.”(3)

In other words, the education gap may be closing. In the meantime, IT managers need to learn as much as they can about the data they are storing and migrating, and help users understand the vulnerability of assets like Excel links. They also need to make use of the best available tools for projects like data migration. To avoid broken file links and consequent data corruption, IT managers involved in data migration are increasingly turning to LinkTek’s LinkFixer Advanced, the world’s leading solution for the management and automatic repair of file links. LinkFixer Advanced is the world’s only fully automatic fixer of broken file links; it handles batches of thousands or even millions at a time, and works on all major file types.

  1. Kwak, James, “The Importance of Excel,” The Baseline Scenario, February 9, 2013. baselinescenario.com/2013/02/09/the-importance-of-excel/
  2. Morris, John, “Data migration and fixing broken links,” British Computer Society, July 12, 2012. bcs.org/content/conBlogPost/2074
  3. Ariker, Matt; Harrysson, Martin; Perrey, Jesko, “Getting the CMO and CIO to work as partners,” McKinsey & Company, August, 2014. mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/getting_the_cmo_and_cio_to_work_as_partners

How To Contact LinkTek

For more information about LinkFixer Advanced, please visit LinkTek’s Web site at www.LinkTek.com, call 727-442-1822 extension 1386, or e-mail linkmail@LinkTek.com.

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