A deluge of data is building, but some verticals are more ready than others: report

A report by IDC assesses the preparedness of various business verticals' digital transformations. (Pixabay)

A deluge of data—one that is even greater than what already is upon us—is coming. The question is whether adequate preparations are being made for this onslaught. An IDC white paper suggests that the answer varies by industry.

The firm predicts that the datasphere—data created, captured and replicated worldwide—will be 175 zettabytes by 2025 and that 30% of it will be real time. The white paper focuses on financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and media and entertainment, which it identified as key sectors. The white paper assesses the industries' data readiness condition (DATCON) status. The metrics measure management, usage and monetization of data to assess data readiness. The scores range from critical (1) to optimized (5).

IDC found that healthcare has the smaller share among the four today. It will, however, grow the fastest to pass media and entertainment and match financial services by 2025.

The white paper, which is entitled "The Digitization of the World – From Edge to Core, was sponsored by Seagate. Key findings include:

• Manufacturing and financial services both scored 3.3. The firm found that both made greater use of edge computing than healthcare and media and entertainment and have potential in blockchain, analytics and artificial intelligence.

• Healthcare followed those two with a score of 2.4. It can improve in data readiness. While blockchain will be important for the industry, IDC found that 60% of companies in healthcare either lack a strategy or have no initiative under way.

• The fourth finisher was media and entertainment, with a score of 2.0. Data security and management were identified as areas in which it can improve.

The white paper also concluded that enterprises will handle more than 80% of the total "installed bytes" worldwide in 2025 and that 49% of the world's stored data could be in public clouds by the same year. The move to the clouds is being driven by the proliferation of IoT sensors. Real time data represented 11 of the datasphere last year and will grow to 30% by 2025, according to Jeff Fochtman, Seagate's vice president of global marketing.

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The DATCON index is a good indicator of the flow of positive or negative repercussions as conditions change, Fochtman told FierceTelecom in an email. "Of course, the impact of some is more prevalent than others," he wrote. "For example, when looking at the DATCON index, I feel that the importance of management and C-level involvement appear to have quite an impact on a company’s DATCON score as 'a strong vision' indicates an optimized DATCON score, while 'some C-level involvement' indicates an average DATCON score and 'no C-level commitment' indicates a needful DATCON score."

Of course, just because the results are speculative doesn't mean they are not valuable. Gartner Senior Vice President David Reinsel suggested, also in response to emailed questions, that corporations can chart a proactive path in their digital transformation by creating organizational alignment and culture around digitalization, employing a single enterprise-wide strategy, demonstrating the inherent value of digital and scaling digital innovations with an integrated platform.

"This definitely is an area where corporations can formulate a blueprint for their 'DX' (digital transformation) strategies and become digitally determined, as opposed to digitally distraught," he wrote.

Reinsel also noted that a theme across industries is that data related to emerging technologies such as augmented reality/virtual reality, artificial intelligence and IoT reside in siloed repositories. Expertise is key to breaking down these barriers. "One of the issues here is to either hire employees that can be data visionaries or data scientists, [but] this isn’t easy because there are few. It means you need to partner or engage service providers in these areas."

IDC is not alone in making predictions, of course. Last week, Ericsson released a report that projects cellular IoT will surpass 4 billion connections in six years and that mobile traffic is on pace to grow 79% year-on-year this year.

The key point may be something that is not particularly cutting edge or innovative. "Finally, from an ecosystem perspective, digital trust is going to underpin 'DX,' and will emerge as an economic driver," Reinsel wrote. "Hence, trust must pervade all those with whom you do business."