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Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Security Drive ROI, Dell Survey Finds

Dell's second annual Global Technology Adoption Index shows companies investing in big data, cloud, mobility and security are enjoying about 50% faster revenue growth than their competitors who didn't invest.
Dell, EMC Deal: 10 Things IT Needs To Know
Dell, EMC Deal: 10 Things IT Needs To Know
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Companies that invest in big data are growing at a 50% faster rate than their competitors, but concerns remain over the cost and ROI.

That's according to Dell's second annual Global Technology Adoption Index, a survey of 2,900 employees of mid-market organizations, which also looked at three other strategic investment areas for these companies -- cloud, mobility, and security. Overall, the survey found that companies that invested in these technologies saw significantly faster revenue growth rates than companies not making those investments.

But while last year's report found that security was the biggest barrier to adoption of these technologies, this year cost became just as big of a factor. So why are costs now a bigger concern?

"The situation is most acute in times of technological disruptions like the one we're currently experiencing," Pund-IT analyst Charles King told InformationWeek. "Plus, the ongoing security attacks and breaches so many businesses continue to suffer are adding to the strain."

Nonetheless, investments are increasing, and businesses are seeing the benefits.

"We're enthused to see more organizations recognizing the strategic importance of technology investments," Dell CIO Paul Walsh said in a prepared statement. And with Dell's announcement Monday of plans to acquire tech giant EMC, the company will gain even more tools to help customers achieve their goals with technology investments.

Here's a breakdown of the Global Technology Adoption Index, organized by strategic area.

Big Data

Among organizations that have big data but aren't yet using it, the top barrier is uncertainty about the benefits being worth the expense. For companies that are already using big data, costs are also a concern. Of those, 29% said that the top barrier to extracting big data insights is the cost of the IT infrastructure. The second biggest barrier is securing the data, at 28%.

Companies surveyed said the benefits of big data are about gaining a competitive advantage, particularly in the area of customer acquisition, growth, and retention. IT pros said the top benefits are better targeting of marketing efforts (41%), optimization of ad spend (37%), and optimization of social media marketing (37%).

Cloud

Companies investing in on-premises cloud have a 46% higher growth rate than those that aren't, and those with off-premises cloud are seeing an even higher revenue growth rate -- 51%. But cost and security are top factors standing in the way of adoption and usage, according to IT pros participating in the survey.

The top barrier depended upon the type of cloud and the perceived security level, the survey showed. For instance, security was a bigger concern with public cloud and SaaS. Private cloud, managed private cloud, and hybrid cloud objections were more about costs.

Mobility And BYOD

Companies that have implemented a bring-your-own-device program are showing 53% higher revenue growth than their counterparts that don't. And those that deploy mobile applications show 44% higher revenue growth rates, the survey showed.

[ What will Dell's acquisition of EMC mean for the tech powerhouse's security strategy? Read all about it in Dell Acquisition Of EMC Has Big Cybersecurity Implications. ]

Security concerns topped the list of barriers to the expansion of mobility initiatives, and limited budget ranked as the second highest concern. Other barriers include limitations of current IT infrastructure (24%), too many IT platforms/operating systems to support (24%), and limited technical/IT resources (23%).

The top benefit of mobility is improved efficiency, according to 39% of IT pros who participated in the survey. That was followed by business process improvement and reduction in paperwork, both at 21%.

Security

Companies are becoming more proactive and strategic in their security investments. For instance, 54% of organizations' security budgets are spent on implementing security plans, rather than simply reacting to threats, according to the survey. It's not a surprise that the survey found that those with smaller IT budgets tend to invest less in IT security. Some of the smallest companies in the survey had no security policies at all.