Sunday, 19th September 2021
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Data becoming a burden?

A Forrester Consulting study commissioned on behalf of Dell Technologies, including data decision-makers in 45 locations, reveals businesses are struggling to reconcile conflicting data realities due to overwhelmed technology, people and processes.

Dell Technologies is releasing the results from a global commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, showing that for most businesses the proliferation of data has become a burden, rather than an advantage. The sheer volume, velocity and variety of data is overwhelming their technology, people and processes. They have data goals – and many believe that they are data-driven – but they’re held-back by an array of barriers. These include a data skills gap, data silos, business silos, manual processes, data privacy and security weaknesses. [note: Will adjust if needed based on phase 2 data.]

Based on a survey with 4,036 data decision-makers from 45 locations, the findings build upon the biennial Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (DT Index) study, which assesses the digital maturity of businesses around the globe. The 2020 DT Index revealed that “data overload/unable to extract insights from data” was the third highest global ranking barrier to transformation, up from 11th place in 2016 (the bottom of the ranking) Dell Technologies commissioned the study with Forrester Consulting to understand why and how we can stop data becoming the number one barrier to transformation.

The study identifies several data paradoxes hindering businesses today, including:

1. The Perception Paradox

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) (UK: 57%) say their business is data-driven and state “data is the lifeblood of their organization.” But only 23 percent (UK: 17%) testify to treating data as capital and prioritizing its use across the business.

To provide some clarity, Forrester Consulting created an objective measure of businesses’ data readiness.


The results show that 87 percent of businesses (UK: 81%) are yet to progress either their data technology and processes and/or their data culture and skills. Only 13 percent of businesses (UK: 19%) are defined as Data Champions: companies that are actively engaged in both areas (technology/process and culture/skills).

2. The “Want More Than They Can Handle” Paradox

According to the research, 71 percent (UK: 70%) say they are gathering data faster than they can analyse and use, yet 66 percent (UK: 55%) say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide. This could be the result of:

•67 percent (UK: 75%) are guarding a significant amount of their data in data centres they own or control, despite the known benefits of processing data at the edge – where the data is generated.

•Poor data leadership: 69 percent (UK: 70%) admit their board still doesn’t visibly support the company’s data and analytics strategy

•An IT strategy that doesn’t scale: 52 percent (UK: 58%) are bolting on more data lakes, rather than consolidating what they have

Consequentially, the explosion in data is making their working lives harder rather than easier: 63 percent (UK: 64%) complain they have such a glut of data they can’t meet security and compliance requirements, and 62 percent (UK: 65%) say their teams are already overwhelmed by the data that they have.

3. The “Seeing Without Doing” Paradox

While economies have suffered during the pandemic, the on-demand sector has expanded, igniting a new wave of data-first, data-anywhere businesses. However, the number of businesses that have moved the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-service model is still small (20 percent: UK: 17%). Even though:

•65 percent (UK: 57%) believe it would enable companies to be more agile

•63 percent (UK: 61%) see the opportunity to scale to changing customer demands

•61 percent (UK: 66%) forecast that businesses would be able to provision applications quickly and simply, with just the touch of a button

•An on-demand model would help the 84 percent (UK: 91%) of businesses that are currently struggling with either or all of the following barriers to better capture, analyse and act on data:

ohigh storage costs;

oa data warehouse that is not optimized.

ooutdated IT infrastructure.

oprocesses that are too manual to meet their needs.

Hope on the Horizon

Although businesses are struggling today, many have plans to create a better tomorrow: 69 percent (UK: 65%) intend to deploy machine learning to automate how they detect anomaly data, 60 percent (UK: 63%) are looking to move to a data-as-a-service model and 55 percent (UK: 51%) are planning to look deeper into the performance stack to rearchitect how they process and use data.

Three ways businesses can turn their data burden into a data advantage:

1.Modernize their IT infrastructure, so it meets data where it lives, at the edge. This incorporates bringing businesses’ infrastructure and applications closer to where data needs to be captured, analysed and acted on – while avoiding data sprawl, by maintaining a consistent multi-cloud operating model

2.Optimize data pipelines, so data can flow freely and securely while being augmented by AI/ML

3.Develope software to deliver the personalized, integrated experiences customers crave.


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