Using internal and external data is an essential element in good decision-making. Companies that use more internal and external data sources possess a greater range of possibilities for data analysis.
But how many internal and external data sources are companies using for decision-making? To find out, we asked our research panel.
Overall, the median number of internal data sources used to support decision-making is five, so most companies are dealing with multiple sources.
The goal of having only one source, such as an enterprise data warehouse, has been achieved by only 6% of respondents. Integrating external data sources is also quite common: the mean number is three external sources.
18% of companies are using 20 or more data sources for decision-making, and our survey results indicate that this figure will grow in the future.
However, more data sources may lead to problems with data quality and governance, especially when the sources are external. Good data governance, data quality, as well as accessibility and usability of information, become more important as the number of data sources increases.
Best-in-class, average and laggard companies access similar numbers of data sources to support decision-making.
There’s a natural correlation between company size and the number of data sources used, which is stronger for internal data sources than for external. The median number of internal data sources doubles from 5 in mid-sized companies to 10 in large organizations.
Approximately half of all respondents think that the number of data sources they use is increasing. The growth rate for external data sources is a bit higher than for internal sources.
With the current hype around big data and the new data sources it brings into play, we might have expected growth to be stronger here.