Could too much data actually be harming your digital transformation?

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For most businesses the mass proliferation of data has become a burden rather than an advantage according to a new study from Forrester Consulting commissioned by Dell Technologies.

To compile its study titled “Unveiling Data Challenges Afflicting Businesses Around The World,” which builds on the biennial Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index, Forrester surveyed 4,036 data decision makers from 45 locations. 

As the 2020 DT Index revealed that “data overload/unable to extract insights from data” was the third highest global barrier to digital transformation, Dell decided to commission Forrester to understand why and how businesses can prevent data from becoming the number one barrier to transformation. 

The study found three different data paradoxes that are hindering businesses today with the first being the perception paradox. While almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents said that their business is data driven and stated that “data is the lifeblood of their organization”, only 23 percent said they treat data as capital and prioritize its use across their business.

Meanwhile the “want more than they can handle” paradox revealed that 71 percent of businesses are gathering data faster than they can analyze and use, though 66 percent of respondents said they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide. This could be result of businesses guarding a significant amount of their data in data centers despite the known benefits of processing data at the edge (67%), poor data leadership (69%) or even an IT strategy that doesn't scale (52%).

From data burden to data advantage

As a result of the wealth of data that is now being generated, employees are finding that their working lives are becoming harder rather than easier. Of those surveyed, 63 percent complained they have so much data they can't meet security and compliance requirements while 62 percent said their teams are overwhelmed by the data they already have.

The final paradox, “seeing without doing”, revealed that as the on-demand sector has expanded during the pandemic, the number of businesses that have moved the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-service model is still small (20%). 

This surprising as 65 percent believe moving to an as-a-service model would enable companies to be more agile, 63 percent believe doing so would be an opportunity to scale to changing customer demands and 61 forecast that businesses would be able to provision applications quickly and simply as a result.

Although businesses are currently struggling to keep up with an influx of data, 69 percent plan to deploy machine learning to automate how they detect anomaly data, 60 percent are looking to move to a data-as-a-service model and 55 percent plan to look deeper into the performance stack to rearchitect how they process and use data.

To achieve their digital transformation efforts, businesses will first need to figure out how to put their data to good use and derive value and insights from it.

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Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.