Public sector leads the way on using data

The public sector is leading the way when it comes to data usability – but still has a way to go – according to the latest research from Veritas Technologies.

The 2020 Veritas Public Sector Databerg Report on public sector data challenges was gathered from senior  decision-makers.  The report shows that 30 percent of the data stored by public sector organisations has a known value. This beats its general industry counterparts, which typically have 50 percent data that is dark, 35 percent deemed ROT and just 15 percent clean.

Regardless of this comparative success, unstructured data is still severely impacting public sector efficiency.  The report also reveals that whilst the public sector has half the amount of Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) data than organisations as a whole, it stores the same amount of dark data, with half being of unknown value. This means government organisations are spending vital budget backing up data with little benefit to public services.

The public sector Databerg report shows over a quarter (27 percent) of all respondents admit to never tagging data, mostly because they either think – or have been told – it’s too expensive a process.

Andy Warren, UK&I Director, Public Sector, at Veritas Technologies said, “There is a misconception that tagging data must be a long, laborious and costly process, but it doesn’t have to be – all you need is the right insight into data.  The average survey respondent was spending as much as £696,460 a year on data storage, half of which is dark.  Tagging data, as basic as it sounds, is the first step in getting control of it, and can very effectively form the foundation to a programme that reduces cost and increases efficiency.”

The signs are positive, however, as public sector IT decision makers seem to be moving towards improving their data management. Increasing internal data visibility is a priority for the majority of IT leaders in the public sector (68 percent of respondents) closely followed by improved data sharing between teams at 59 percent.

“The challenge is real, and so much progress has already been made in the public sector in spite of cost limitations and large swathes of extremely sensitive data”, said Warren. “However, provable cost savings can still be realised by consolidating infrastructure, understanding the data estate and deleting what isn’t needed. The technology is now available to reduce costs, improve efficiency and aid compliance.”


Other insights from the research include:

Cloud fears hold back UK Public Sector digitalisation ambitions as only 17% of data is stored in the cloud (10% for Local Government). This puts the Public Sector at a distinct disadvantage in improving services.
Public sector organisations could be missing the savings associated with data tiering, as primary disk dominates as the main device for storing data long term for over a third (36%)
Regulation is far down the list of drivers for data governance, ranked first by only 23% of respondents.  Enabling cloud initiatives and reducing data management costs were in fact considered the primary drivers for data governance.
Nearly two thirds (62%) operate today with outdated backup and recovery services, while over half of Public Sector organisations are still shackled to manual data management. A lack of automation is forcing 55% to spend time implementing manual processes.
While 61% of respondents said reducing costs was their biggest challenge, 34% prioritised improving data efficiency and data management practices.