Managing data overload in the on-demand economy

    The Data Paradox, based on a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell Technologies, seeks to uncover what’s preventing businesses from turning data into actionable insights.

    • Data overload has become a significant barrier to transformation

      The 2020 Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index revealed that “data overload and the inability to extract insights from data” is the third highest barrier to digital transformation, up from 11th place in 2016. To uncover what’s preventing organizations from leveraging their data, Forrester surveyed 4,036 leaders responsible for data strategies and spend across 40+ locations.

    • The on-demand economy is producing a massive data influx

      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. 

    • The research revealed key data paradoxes:

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      Businesses believe they are data-driven but they don’t prioritize the use of data across the organization.

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      Businesses need more data, but they have more data than they can handle right now.

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      Many believe in the benefits of aaS, but only a few have made the transition to such a model.

    • Businesses crave more data than they can handle

      67% of businesses say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide1. However, analysis is lagging behind demand. The number of businesses that say they are analyzing more data is only half of those who have seen an increased demand in data.

    • Businesses are overstating their data identity

    • 66%

      of businesses see themselves as a data-driven organization, yet only...1             

    • 21%

      are treating data as capital and prioritizing its use across the business.1

    • Assessing businesses’ data readiness

      To help businesses navigate the expanding on-demand economy, Forrester scored respondents’ data readiness based on their technical ability to manage and analyze data, their data culture and data skills. The result? Most businesses performed poorly, scoring low in both technical ability and culture. 

    2021 Global Results





    High processes / technology

    Low processes / technology

    High skills / culture

    Low skills / culture

    • The barriers to uncovering the true value of data

      There are many barriers to better capturing, analyzing and leveraging data for actionable insights. The top barriers to achieving data excellence are:

    • Creating a data-ready culture is imperative

      Discovering insights from data requires the right skills and culture. To achieve a data-ready culture, respondents are making these changes today while strategizing for the future:

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        • Providing training and certifications in data literacy

        • Setting data-driven personal development targets

        • Establishing cross-functional teams and stronger QA processes to ensure data transparency
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        • Incentivizing employees to innovate with data and analytics

        • Treating data as capital and prioritizing its use across business roles

        • Running initiatives to promote the democratization of data
    • Investing in technology to automate and scale

      Businesses also need the right technology and processes to manage their data capital. To close the data gap, respondents plan to invest in the following areas over the next 1-3 years:

    • Harnessing the potential of the as-a-Service model

      Although currently only 20% of companies have transitioned the majority of their applications and infrastructure to an as-a-Service model, most see a path forward1. The study suggests businesses are waking up to the benefits of as-a-Service:

    • Becoming a data-first, data-anywhere business

      While the on-demand economy is propelling unprecedented growth in data, it’s also the route to affording businesses the agility, resources and flexibility they need to turn a data burden into a data advantage.

      With technology as the great leveler, any business can maneuver into prime position and harness the immense value of a massive expansion of data.

    • 1Source: A May 2021 commissioned study, "Unveiling Data Challenges Afflicting Businesses Around The World", conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell Technologies. Base: 4,036 Director+ decision-makers responsible for data and data strategies in North America, Europe, Asia, Pacific and Japan, Greater China, or Latin America.