Irish enterprises risk being left behind

New research from Digital Realty and Hewlett Packard Enterprise confirms a rise in the number of enterprises moving to a hybrid IT environment, but Ireland still trails global counterparts.

Digital Realty has published, in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, its second collaborative report, which uncovers how Irish organisations have a critical need for hybrid IT models, and emphasizes the imperative to seamlessly integrate on-premise infrastructure with private cloud solutions, public cloud, and colocation services.

The report highlights that a sensible and tailored IT infrastructure strategy can help organisations ensure efficiency while simultaneously maximising performance. Two years on from Digital Realty and HPE’s inaugural report, this has been reflected in the approach of Irish organisations. In 2022, 17% of Irish headquartered businesses did not know what their organisation’s IT infrastructure strategy was. Today, this figure has almost halved to 10% (a reduction of 41%).

The new study reveals a slight increase (45% to 51%) in the number of Irish organisations planning to migrate to a hybrid IT environment to leverage both on-premises systems and off-premises cloud/hosted resources. However, there is still a significant variance between enterprises headquartered in Ireland versus those in other countries (44% versus 66%), showing that Irish enterprises have been slower to adopt hybrid IT versus their international peers. Eventually, Irish organisations’ current IT infrastructure will become unfit for purpose – particularly when looking to drive efficiencies, advance scalability, meet regulatory requirements, embrace new technologies, and deliver sustainability.

The survey of 150 senior IT and business decision makers, conducted by Amárach Research, explored the context around Ireland’s pursuit of digital innovation, and how the country’s IT environment is evolving to enable transition.

When asked what the biggest challenges facing their organisation in terms of managing data were, the key issues facing Irish enterprises identified in the report are:

· Data security: 67% of organisations identified data security as the biggest challenge they face, up from 64% in 2022.

· Data regulation: Understanding where data needs to live for regulatory purposes saw a significant jump from 20% in 2022 to 41% in 2024.

· Workload placement: The shift away from Irish enterprises storing data in owner-operated server rooms remains show. However, research shows a continual reduction in the reliance of on-premise facilities with growth coming from colocation (26%) and private cloud (37%).

· Making better use of data: When managing data, nearly half (40%) of respondents said they grapple with the management of the ever-growing amounts of data within their organisation and over a third (32%) of organisations reported they would like to understand how to make better use of their data.

“Many Irish organisations are at risk of their IT infrastructure becoming unfit for purpose if they don’t catch-up with the rest of the world in the adoption of hybrid IT. After several years of economic uncertainty, green shoots of recovery in the Irish market are starting to show. But companies can’t leave themselves in a position where their IT infrastructure means that they’re unable to drive efficiencies and embrace new technologies. The shift is happening, slowly, and it’s clear that businesses do now have a better understanding of their overall IT strategy, but the gap between international peers needs to close. The impact of the current data centre moratorium on the future of Irish businesses may put the brakes on this positive trend, however. The lack of data centre capacity will impact Irish organisations’ move to hybrid strategies and their ability to capitalise on new technologies such as AI,” said Séamus Dunne, Managing Director, Digital Realty in Ireland & the UK.

Vendor Support continues to play a significant role in the move to hybrid IT

The 2024 research confirms the continued reliance on outside support by Irish businesses to deliver their IT strategies. For many, the reality of transforming an organisation’s IT infrastructure remains daunting, which is why many rely on partners to influence the design of, deploy, and support new hybrid IT environments. Hybrid IT requires careful consideration, often taking one application or workload at a time.

Irish headquartered organisations are more likely to rely specifically on managed service providers than those headquartered outside of Ireland (43% versus 24%). This reliance is due to connectivity issues with direct connection to public clouds, interconnection with customers/vendors/software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, and network capacity/direct connectivity to multiple sites are listed as key services provided.

Speaking on the research, Ray McGann, Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Ireland said, “At times of increasing adoption of AI, exponential data growth, and expanding sustainability requirements, not just from legislation but also end-customers, Irish organisations are under significant pressure to create an IT environment that can adapt to rapid shifts.”

McGann continued: “As the survey shows, more and more organisations are recognising that a hybrid approach provides the flexibility and scalability needed to keep up with the changes and address technological challenges.

However, it also means that organisations are increasingly reliant on their technology partners – not only to provide solutions, but also the skills and expertise needed to deliver on their hybrid IT strategy. This means that finding the right partner, one that is able address their particular data management, compliance and security concerns, will be paramount to their future success.”

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