Despite being an organization’s greatest asset, data can paradoxically become the biggest barrier to transformation. This likelihood increases as the expanding on-demand economy generates an immense amount of data, including new data types across new locations, and fuels expectations that data in motion will be processed in real time. Dell Technologies’ research based on a global survey of more than 4,000 decision-makers from 45 countries including India reveals a “Data Paradox” wherein businesses say they need more data yet they’re struggling to cope with and extract value from the data they have. In fact, more than half of businesses in India itself say that for this grave challenge, they have not even come close to realizing their digital transformation goals.
Businesses struggling with data proliferation
The study conducted by Forrester Consulting, shows most businesses in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) are struggling with the proliferation of data. Instead of offering a competitive advantage, data has become a burden due to an array of barriers: a data skills gap, data silos, manual processes, business silos, and data privacy and security weaknesses. This “Data Paradox” is driven by the volume, velocity and variety of data overwhelming businesses, technology, people, and processes.
The study builds on a 2016 Digital Transformation Index research, which assesses the digital maturity of businesses around the globe, which further revealed that “data overload or unable to extract insights from data” was the biggest barrier to transformation in India.
Two-thirds of respondents India (67%) say their business is data-driven and state “data is the lifeblood of their organisation.” But only a little over a fifth (24%) testify to treating data as capital and prioritizing its use across the business.
Businesses lacking data readiness
To provide some clarity around this paradox, the research outlines an objective measurement of businesses’ data readiness, in which it show that 82% of businesses in India are yet to progress either their data technology and processes and/or their data culture and skills. Shockingly, only 18% of businesses in India are defined as Data Champions: companies that are actively engaged in both areas including technology and culture.
According to the research, 82% of organizations in India (70% globally and 73% in APJ) say they are gathering data faster than they can analyse and use, yet 71% of businesses in India (67% globally and 69% in APJ) say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide. This could be the result of:
- Hesitant to change: 65% of businesses in India are guarding a significant amount of their data in data centers they own or control, despite the known benefits of processing data at the edge (where the data is generated).
- Poor data leadership: 60% of respondents in India admits their board still doesn’t visibly support the company’s data and analytics strategy.
- An IT strategy that doesn’t scale: 42% of businesses in India are of the opinion that they don’t possess the technical skills required to manage a data lake
Consequentially, the explosion in data is making their working lives harder rather than easier. As per the research, 63% of businesses in India complain they have such a glut of data they can’t meet security and compliance requirements, and 67% in India stated that 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, with 44% globally and in APJ saying the pandemic significantly increased the amount of data they need to collect, store, and analyse,” commented Amit Midha, President, Asia Pacific & Japan and Global Digital Cities, Dell Technologies. “Becoming a data-driven business is a journey, and they’ll need guides to help them along the way.”
Data deluge in times of pandemic
The study further shows that over the past 18 months 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 few in India and is pegged at 24%.
The level of awareness however is high among businesses as nearly two-thirds see the opportunity to scale to changing customer demands and forecast businesses would be able to provision applications quickly and simply (with just the touch of a button)
Creating a data-ready culture is imperative
Although businesses are struggling today, many have plans to create a better tomorrow. As per the research, in India, 80% of the businesses (Global: 66%, APJ: 67%) intent to deploy machine learning to automate how they detect anomaly data, 60% (57% globally and in APJ) are looking to move to a data-as-a-service model and 57% (Global: 52%, APJ: 47%) are planning to look deeper into the performance stack to re-architect how they process and use data in the next 1-3 years.
The researchers recommend three ways businesses can turn their data burden into a data advantage:
- Modernizing 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.
- Optimizing data pipelines, so data can flow freely and securely while being augmented by AI/ML.
- Developing software to deliver the personalized, integrated experiences customers crave.
“We have been dwelling in an era where the business landscape has transformed like never before. Data deluge is one of the many challenges businesses are facing while managing and processing the volume of data being generated. In fact, 55% of business in India believe that the pandemic has increased the amount of data they need to collect, store and analyze. This is forcing businesses to take a deeper look at their data management strategy,” said Ripu Bajwa, Director & General Manager, Data Protection Solutions, Dell Technologies, India.
He said, “Hence, it has become a pre-requisite for organizations across industries, to accelerate their digital transformation journey and stay aligned with recent technological advancements. They need to focus on data driven mind-set, which will enable them to secure insights from the huge of amount of data being generated, helping them fast-track their digital journeys”.