Irish IT executives behind international curve on big data

8 Apr 2013

Only 56pc of Irish business executives believe big data will be a priority in the next five years compared with the EU average of 76pc, a Vanson Bourne study on behalf of data centre player Interxion has found.

In addition, twice as many IT departments in Ireland (42pc) saw big data as a “significant challenge” compared 21pc in the UK.

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

Less long-term IT planning in Ireland

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 €1m 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.

“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,” said Douglas Loewe, country manager for Interxion in Ireland.

“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,” Loewe said.

Adrift in a sea of binary image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years