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Digital transformation held back by lack of skilled people

Veeam survey finds digital transformation a hot topic, but 44% of firms are held back by skills shortages. Meanwhile, the cost of downtime is found to be $67,651 per hour for the most important apps

Most organisations believe digital transformation can benefit their business’s operations and customer service, but almost as many say they are held back by lack of skilled resources.

Those are some of the findings of the Veeam 2020 Data protection trends report, which also discovered the cost to respondents of outages of high priority applications – $67,651 per hour.

The survey questioned 1,500 decision-makers in global enterprises on data protection and the IT challenges they face.

A key focus of the survey was digital transformation, which seeks to rebuild an organisation’s activities so that its operations are software-based and can take advantage of efficiency savings, benefit rapidly from changes in its market and be quickly reworkable to a constantly changing environment.

Analyst house IDC has predicted digital transformation spending will be around $7.4tn between 2020 and 2023.

According to the survey, more than half (51%) of respondents believe digital transformation can help their organisation transform customer service, while nearly half said it could transform business operations (48%) and deliver cost savings (47%).

But almost half of those surveyed said they are hindered in their digital transformation journey by unreliable legacy technologies, while 44% cited lack of IT skills or expertise as a barrier to success.  

Almost a quarter (23%) of organisations described their progress towards digital transformation initiatives and goals as mature or fully implemented. Meanwhile, nearly one-third (30%) are in the early stages of implementing or planning digital transformation.

According to the survey, the vast majority (95%) of organisations suffer unexpected outages and an outage lasts, on average, almost two hours (117 minutes).

The decision-makers surveyed reported 10% of their servers having unexpected outages each year that last for hours and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

An hour of downtime from applications deemed “high priority” was estimated to cost $67,651, while this number was $61,642 for a “normal” application. The organisations surveyed considered 51% of their data as “high priority”.

Nearly one-third (32%) of the organisations surveyed currently make use of on-premise backup tools, while 43% see themselves moving to cloud-based backup tools by 2022.

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Currently, more than a quarter (27%) of data is backed up to the cloud by a backup-as-a-service (BaaS) provider, while 43% of firms plan to go down this route within the next two years.

More than one-third (39%) of respondents said the ability to improve the reliability of backups was the most likely reason their organisation would change its primary backup solution. A similar number (38%) said reduced software or hardware costs would be the key factor, while 33% cited improving return on investment.

The survey showed that almost a quarter (23%) of data is replicated and made disaster recovery-capable via a cloud provider. About one-fifth (21%) of data across organisations globally is not replicated or staged for BC/DR, while 14% of data is not backed up. 

Lack of staff to work on new data protection initiatives (42%) was cited as the biggest current challenge. Lack of budget for new initiatives (40%) and lack of visibility on operational performance (40%) were also cited.

The survey showed that respondents see the use of cloud as important to digital transformation. For more than half (54%) that means disaster recovery via a cloud service, while 50% cited the ability to burst workloads from on-premise to the cloud as an aim, and multicloud and the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another was cited as important by 48%.

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