Most businesses in Australia and New Zealand are struggling with the proliferation of data, and instead of leveraging it, it has become a burden due to pressing concerns: data skills gap, data silos, manual processes, business silos, and data privacy and security weaknesses, according to a Forrester global study, commissioned by Dell Technologies.
According to the study, the “Data Paradox” is driven by volume, velocity, and variety of data that overwhelms businesses, technology, people, and processes.
The findings are based on a survey of more than 4,000 decision-makers from 45 countries and hinges on the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index research, which assesses the digital maturity of businesses around the globe.
The new Digital Transformation Index revealed that “data overload/unable to extract insights from data” was the third highest global ranking obstacle to transformation. It was ranked at the fourth spot, up from 11th place in 2016.
1. The Perception paradox
Two-thirds of respondents (66%) (ANZ: 64%) say their business is data-driven and state “data is the lifeblood of their organisation.”
But only 21% (ANZ: 23%) testify to treating data as capital and prioritising its use across the business.
To provide some clarity about this paradox, the research outlines an objective measurement of businesses’ data readiness.
The results show that 88% of businesses (ANZ: 87%) are yet to progress either their data technology and processes and their data culture and skills.
Only 12% of businesses (ANZ: 13%) are defined as Data Champions: companies that are actively engaged in both areas of technology and process and culture and skills.
2. The Want More Than They Can Handle paradox
According to the research, 70% (ANZ: 71%) say they are gathering data faster than they can analyse and use, yet 67% (ANZ: 70%) say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide.
The study says this could be the result of:
· 64% (ANZ: 65%) 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: 70% (ANZ:69%) admit their board still doesn’t visibly support the company’s data and analytics strategy.
· An IT strategy that doesn’t scale: 49% (ANZ: 50%) are bolting on more data lakes, rather than consolidating what they have.
Consequentially, the boom in data is making their working lives harder rather than easier: 64% (ANZ:61%) complain they have excessive data that they can’t meet security and compliance requirements, and 61% (ANZ: 60%) say their teams are already overwhelmed by the data that they have.
“At a time when businesses are under immense pressure to embrace digital transformation to accelerate customer service, they need to juggle getting more data in, as well as better mining the data that they have. Particularly now, as 44% (ANZ: 43%) report that the pandemic significantly increased the amount of data they need to collect, store, and analyse,” comments Dell Technologies senior director of technology Australia and New Zealand Adrian Iannessa.
“Becoming a data-driven business is a journey, one that requires a continual balancing of data capture, analysis, storage and security to generate value and a competitive advantage,” Iannessa adds.
3. The Seeing Without Doing paradox
Over the past 18 months, the on-demand sector has expanded. However, the number of businesses that transferred the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-service model is still few (20%) (ANZ: 22%).
· 64% (ANZ: 65%) see the opportunity to scale to changing customer demands;
· 63% (ANZ: 68%) believe it would enable companies to be more agile;
· 60% (ANZ: 57%) forecast businesses would provide applications (with just the touch of a button)
· An on-demand model would help the 83% (ANZ: 82%) of businesses that are currently wrestling with either or all of the following barriers to better capture, analyse, and act on data: High storage costs; a data warehouse that is not optimised; outdated IT infrastructure; and processes that are too manual to meet their needs.
Although businesses are struggling today, many have plans to create a better tomorrow: 66% (ANZ: 71%) intend to deploy machine learning to automate how they detect anomaly data, 57% (ANZ: 60%) are looking to move to a data-as-a-service model and 52% (ANZ: 48%) are planning to look deeper into the performance stack to rearchitect how they process and use data in the next one to three years.
The study suggests three ways businesses can turn their data burden into a data advantage:
1. Modernising 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. Optimising data pipelines, so data can flow freely and securely while being augmented by AI/ML.
3. Developing software to deliver the personalised, integrated experiences customers crave.