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Forrester finds companies confounded by data deluge

A Dell-commissioned study by analyst firm Forrester finds organisations overwhelmed by mounds of data

A Forrester study commissioned by Dell Technologies has revealed that businesses are struggling with big data overload.

The international study, Unveiling data challenges afflicting businesses around the world, found that 64% of businesses (the UK figure was 57%) believe they are data-driven but only 23% (UK: 17%) are prioritising data’s use across the organisation.

Two-thirds (UK: 55%) say they need more data, but even more businesses (UK: 70%) state they have more data than they can handle right now.

The study is based on a survey of 4,036 data decision-makers from 45 locations. The findings are said to build upon a 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.

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

At a press briefing connected with the research, Dayne Turbitt, general manager for Dell in the UK and Ireland, said: “People have more data than they know what to do with. There is a technology component to that. How do you aggregate the data so you can reason on it? Some 57% of respondents [to the Forrester study] regard themselves as data-driven businesses, but 83% are not treating data as capital. They are not prioritising data across the business, so there is a long way to go.

“There is a paradox of them wanting a ton of it, and yet wanting more of it. The question is, ‘How do the applications make use of that data?’ Data science will come to the fore since it asks what data you need, as an economic, business-case driven imperative.

“The other challenge is how you collect data in a sensible place, so you can access it without copying it. Once you put data into the public cloud you are locked into that piece. So, put your data in a central location with direct connect capability to all of the public clouds. We’ll start to see more of that, so that you can take advantage of the innovation of AWS [Amazon Web Services] or Google, say, to use their reasoning services for a particular use without going through an inordinate amount of inertial move of petabytes of data. We’re seeing this [approach] first in genome sequencing.

“Also, companies will become a lot smarter with the analysis of data at the edge. We’ve seen the era of cloud – the emergence of AWS, Google and [Microsoft] Azure – and now we will see, over the next 10 years, a battle for the edge. How do AWS, Google and Microsoft bring their capabilities to the edge and how does Dell Technologies, since we understand the edge, bring its capabilities?”

The Forrester authors concur, in the study: “Data’s centre of gravity is shifting away from the datacentre, data warehouse and analytics databases, and toward a networked ecosystem of data streams and the edge.”

The edge is, according to this viewpoint, where data is generated by endpoint computing devices, like sensors, and so at the edge of the network.

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