Data a burden rather than advantage for most Irish businesses – study

Some 70% of businesses say they gather more data than they can use, Dell report finds

Data has become a burden rather than an advantage for most Irish businesses, new research has revealed, with 70 per cent saying they are gathering more data than they can use.

The research, which was revealed at the Dell Technologies Forum, found that almost two-thirds of businesses here believe they are data-driven but only 20 per cent are treating it as capital and prioritise the use of data across their organisation.

Almost half said they had increased the volume of data they were collecting, but the majority of businesses said they could not analyse all the data they were gathering. Only 9 per cent of businesses surveyed said they were data champions.

Some 60 per cent said they are battling data silos, where data is not easily or fully accessible, and 58 per cent said they were not close to realising the digital transformation goals they had set themselves.


"The findings we've published reveal a curious paradox – data has the potential to become Irish businesses' greatest obstacle to transformation while also being their number one asset," said Jason Ward, vice-president and managing director at Dell Technologies Ireland.

“Company leaders need to modernise their IT infrastructure to keep pace with the growing volume of data in their business and to ensure data can flow freely and securely within their organisation. Fostering a data-driven culture will be key to overcoming the data deluge facing many Irish businesses today.”

IT investment

Irish companies are increasing their investment in IT, with spend rising by 66 per cent over the past three years, and respondents expecting it to increase by a further 21 per cent over the next three years.

Meanwhile, almost half of businesses are planning to move to an “as-a-Service” model within the next one to three years to combat high storage costs, outdated IT infrastructure and manual processes.

“As we look to fuel the recovery, ensuring that data creates value and not confusion for businesses will be critical to not only unlocking the true potential of digital transformation but in helping Ireland to build back better,” Mr Ward said.

The study was published to coincide with the Dell Technologies Forum, a virtual showcase for artificial intelligence, cloud, edge computing and 5G technology and how it can help businesses to use data to benefit their organisation.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist