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Mass Data Fragmentation: A critical challenge

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Cohesity, a specialist in hyperconverged secondary storage, has announced the results of a global survey that validates a critical problem plaguing enterprises around the world: mass data fragmentation.

The survey of over 900 senior IT decision makers included 250 from the UK. It revealed that 89% of respondents in the UK believe their organisation’s secondary data is fragmented across silos and is, or will become, nearly impossible to manage long term, the consequences of which could be devastating.

Respondents cited growing fears around competitive threats, compliance risks, job losses, sinking morale, and missed opportunities to increase revenue by as much as 10%.

Mass data fragmentation refers to the growing proliferation of data spread across a myriad of different locations, infrastructure silos, and management systems that prevents organisations from fully utilising its value.

The survey, commissioned by Cohesity and conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that 88% of UK decision makers believe it’s important, very important, or extremely important to solve the challenges of mass data fragmentation.

Respondents include enterprises in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan across a variety of industries including financial services, healthcare, life sciences, media and entertainment, technology and the public sector. The companies represented in the survey had average revenues of more than £8 billion ($10.5 billion).

“IT leaders globally are wrestling with mass data fragmentation and the snowball effect caused by this critical infrastructure challenge,” said Mohit Aron, CEO and founder of Cohesity.

“Data silos create compute and management silos and it becomes nearly impossible for organisations to solve this constantly growing problem. Data becomes a burden when it really should serve as a competitive asset.”

What’s driving mass data fragmentation?

The results show there are several core issues accelerating mass data fragmentation challenges.

Data is massively siloed

There is fragmentation across and within silos. This problem is exacerbated by the sheer volume of point products used to manage secondary workloads such as backups, file shares, object stores, test and development, and analytics. 30% of UK respondents reported using six or more different solutions to manage all of their secondary data operations, with 6% using 11 or more solutions.

Data copies are multiplying

There are copies of the same data everywhere because point products don’t allow data sharing or reuse.62% of UK organisations have between 4-15 copies of the same data.

Data is spread across multiple locations

Data sprawl is happening on-premises and in the cloud, adding even more management complexity.82% of UK respondents store data in two to five public clouds, and that includes 14% that store data in four or more public clouds.

Among organisations that store data in public cloud, 66% of UK respondents report making an alternate or redundant copy of that data, storing it in either the same public cloud or another public cloud, adding even more data copies to oversee.

Mass data fragmentation has the potential to wreak havoc on IT teams and budgets that are already spread thin. The overwhelming majority of UK respondents believe it will take their IT teams more time to manage secondary apps and data – on average 29% more time or close to an additional 16 weeks each year – if proper tools aren’t in place.  

And, for those who believe their organisation’s secondary data is fragmented, nearly half fear they will exceed their IT budget due to spending on unnecessary storage.

Concerns about compliance, competitiveness, and employee wellbeing

The survey also uncovered serious risks that mass data fragmentation poses to organisations.

Compliance risks and competitive challenges

At a time when compliance regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), are front of mind for organisations, 90% of UK respondents said they were concerned about the level of visibility that the IT team has into secondary data across all sites.

Of those who feel that their organisation’s secondary data is fragmented across different silos of infrastructure:

  • 48% of UK respondents believe that failing to address mass data fragmentation will put their organisation at a competitive disadvantage.
  • 47% said customer experience would suffer because fragmentation would make it impossible for their organisations to glean insights from secondary data.
Employee wellbeing

If IT is expected to manage all of the organisation’s secondary data and apps without proper technology, within the UK:

  • 32% fear massive turnover on the IT team, and 26% said that they or someone on their team would likely consider quitting.
  • 44% believe culture within the IT team will take a nosedive because expectations are out of whack and the organisation is not set up for success.
  • 48% said employee satisfaction and morale would suffer.
Solving the problem unlocks significant rewards

88% of senior IT decision makers said that if half of the IT resources their organisation spends managing secondary data were redeployed to more business-critical IT actions, it could have a positive impact on the company’s revenues over a five-year period.

  • Nearly a quarter of UK respondents believe this adjustment in IT resources could increase revenues by at least 6% over a five-year period. And, 7% say revenue could increase by eight to 10% or more.
  • With average revenue of companies in the survey above $10B, an 8-10% increase would translate to roughly $800m to $1b in new revenue opportunities. 
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