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December 1, 2022

Half of UK IT leaders say data storage costs are ‘unsustainable’

Companies are spending a large chunk of tech budget on storage and management of information, and costs are on the up.

By Ryan Morrison

More than half of UK IT decision-makers say data storage costs are “unsustainable”, a new study has revealed. It also found that British businesses are spending an average of £213,000 per year on storage and management of information.

Data storage and management costs continue to grow with barriers in place for companies wanting to change provider (Photo: dotshock/Shutterstock)
Data storage and management costs continue to grow with barriers in place for companies wanting to change provider. (Photo by dotshock/Shutterstock)

The survey of 500 tech leaders working at mid-to-large companies across the UK was carried out by Seagate, and found that many were forced to prioritise spend on data management over employee welfare, training, and even energy costs. More than half said their business’ senior leadership were unaware of the scale of the problem.

The amount of data produced per year is expected to hit 181 zettabytes by 2025 and a yottabyte by 2030 – growing exponentially year-on-year as the world adopts more data-intensive technologies including artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

While there are benefits to using this data, studies have shown most companies are yet to capitalise on the value which is impacting budgets. The Data+AI Radar study published this month was carried out by the Infosys Knowledge Institute which found that what it describes as “high-performing” companies think differently about AI and data, with those treating data like currency – sharing it and letting it circulate – seeing the highest return.

The problem is the rising cost of storing that data, says Seagate. The most recent survey by the memory company found that UK businesses are spending up to one-third of their IT budgets on data storage and management alone and 90% of those responding were concerned about costs continuing to rise.

Nearly two-thirds believe that the way data storage and management is currently priced discourages innovation and many face a significant barrier when it comes to moving to another provider. Only one-fifth of respondents said the cost of migrating data would be less than £50,000.

Larger companies face higher bills for data, with nearly half of those working with companies that have more than 10,000 employees saying it would cost at least £100,000 to migrate data to another provider and those working in financial services face the highest migration costs.

Data storage costs: UK firms wary of changing provider

The survey found that enterprises have experienced 30% growth in data-management spending over the past year, with over half of businesses believing it will be unsustainable in 3 years. Study authors said that “more efficient data management is essential to cost savings” and innovation.

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The problem facing businesses when it comes to data is that it is an immovable cost that continues to grow, so other areas of the business have to face cuts. The survey found that this is impacting employee training and welfare.

The vast majority of respondents said data storage and management was a top priority when establishing their business’ budget. In comparison rent, employee training and welfare services were amongst the least prioritised areas, with less than three-quarters of respondents classing them as top or significant priorities.

Companies with fewer than 5,000 employees placed more importance on data storage than larger companies, the survey found, with 91% of respondents citing it as a top priority compared to 84% for businesses with more than 10,000 employees.

“UK Businesses are using and storing data at unprecedented levels,” said Ravi Naik, Seagate executive vice president of storage and services. “Companies that minimise data costs and maximise data innovation, win.”

Read more: A third of cloud computing spend goes to waste

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