Jason Ward, Dell

Dell study says data a burden for most businesses in Europe

Organisations in Europe have experienced more cyber attacks due to an increased use of data
Jason Ward, Dell Technologies Ireland

31 August 2021

Most businesses consider the proliferation of data a burden rather than an advantage, according to a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell Technologies.

The sheer volume, velocity and variety of data is overwhelming technology, people, and processes, the study found. Businesses have data goals, but are held-back by an array of barriers including a data skills gap, data silos, business silos, manual processes, data privacy and security weaknesses.

With over 4,000 data decision-makers from 45 locations participating in the study, 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 second highest barrier to transformation in Europe. 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. Almost two-thirds of respondents in Europe (61%) say their business is data-driven and believe data is the lifeblood of their organisation. But only 21% of European businesses testify to treating data as capital and prioritising its use across the business.The results show that 89% of European businesses are yet to progress either their data technology and processes and/or their data culture and skills. Only 11% of businesses are defined as ‘data champions’: companies that are actively engaged in both areas (technology/process and culture/skills).

Seeing without doing

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 (Europe 16%). Even though 61% of organisations in Europe believe it would enable companies to be more agile while 64% see the opportunity to scale to changing customer demands.

Although businesses in Europe are struggling, many have plans to create a better tomorrow: 69% intend to deploy machine learning to automate how they detect anomaly data, 60% are looking to move to a data-as-a-service model and 56% are planning to look deeper into the performance stack to rearchitect how they process and use data.

According to the research, 71% say they are gathering data faster than they can analyse and use, yet 64% of businesses in Europe say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide.

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

“At a time when Irish organisations are looking to transform at speed, it’s vital that we uncover the obstacles preventing companies from turning data into actionable insights,” said Jason Ward, vice-president and managing director, Dell Technologies Ireland. “Particularly now, with 45% of organisations saying the pandemic significantly increased the amount of data they need to collect, store and analyse.

“The results of our study reveal an interesting paradox. Despite businesses believing they are data-driven, they have more data than they can handle and secure right now. To address this challenge, it’s vital that businesses process data at the edge – where it is generated. The edge can be a video camera, drone, an engine in a car or the whole car. In gaining real-time insights at the edge, organisations in Ireland will be able to roll out new applications and transform the way they do business in a data-driven age. This will accelerate the pace of digital transformation and result in an 800% increase in apps at the Edge by 2024.”

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