Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Ireland is lagging behind rest of Europe on “Big Data” despite government initiatives

Just 56% of Irish IT professionals surveyed said that big data will become a priority in the next five years

A new report commissioned by Interxion (NYSE: INXN), a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation data centre services in Europe, has revealed some startling new findings in relation to big data and IT trends in Ireland.

According to the report, ‘Big Data – Beyond the Hype’, prepared by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Interxion, creating big data solutions is seen as much more of a priority amongst the European and UK IT professionals surveyed than their Irish counterparts. Just 56% of Irish IT professionals surveyed said that big data will become a priority in the next five years, behind the EU average at 76%.  Further, twice as many IT departments in Ireland answered that they saw big data as a “significant challenge” than did those in the UK (42% in Ireland vs. 21% in the UK).

The report also found that the recession is continuing to exact a heavy toll on IT departments in Ireland – with fire-fighting identified as the key priority, taking up 45% of Irish IT professionals’ time, well ahead of the European average at 37%.  43% of IT departments in Ireland said they struggle to take a long-term view and 85% of those professionals said that their budgets are getting tighter.

The findings point to a decreased emphasis on long-term IT planning in Ireland, when compared to the UK and other European countries. The findings also suggest that Irish businesses are falling behind the curve compared to the rest of Europe when it comes to recognising that big data will be a priority in the coming years.

This is despite the Irish government identifying big data as a target for jobs growth in the Action Plan for Jobs 2013.  Earlier this month, the government announced details of a €1 million investment in a research programme in big data, featuring top-tier multinational and Irish ICT companies.  The research will be focused on developing ways of generating business, profit and ultimately jobs from the high-growth area of data analytics. However, this latest research from Interxion casts doubt on whether Ireland genuinely has a distinct advantage in the area of big data, compared to other countries.

Douglas Loewe, Country Manager for Interxion Ireland, commented: “These results show that there is still a lack of joined up thinking between IT departments and the boardroom in Ireland, compared to other European countries. As the recession continues to bite, there is less time spent on planning and as a result, IT departments are left running on a day-to-day basis with a limited view of their organisation’s long-term strategy.

These results clearly demonstrate that those forward-thinking companies who are working in sync with their IT departments are more alert to the opportunities presented by the application of emerging technologies. With only half of Irish businesses recognising that big data will be a priority in the coming years, it is important for the boardroom to work with the IT department in thinking ahead to lay the foundations for any future applications of big data that may provide the business with competitive advantage.”

“Big data is still in the hype cycle stage, but it’s clear that the challenges posed by the volume, velocity and variety of data will become increasingly important over the next few years.” concluded Loewe. “In order to capitalise on the benefits that respondents anticipate, it’s crucial to make the right choices now and ensure that all the elements are in place for a successful big data solution..”

Key highlights of the survey include:

  • The UK and Ireland present very different pictures. Whereas IT departments in the UK have strategies which are broadly aligned to long-term business objectives (91%), in Ireland this is less the case (64%).
  • 43% of IT departments in Ireland said that they struggled to take a long-term view and budgets are getting tighter.
  • In Ireland, 24% of respondents said that their department does not plan far enough ahead to be in line with long-term business plan. This figure was only 3% in the UK.
  • Of the 40% of Irish respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with the statement “my department struggles to take a proactive and long-term strategic view”, 85% said that their budgets were getting tighter.

The full copy of the report ‘Big Data – Beyond the Hype’ is available at