It’s talked about a lot, not always by the way data potential. The technologies available on the market today enable enormous value to be extracted from the information resources of companies, but they are not enough. It is important to have a strategic vision for all phases of the data life, from when it is generated, to how it is detected and most importantly, what is being done to process it and turn it into valuable decisions, that bring real returns for companies. It is in this general context that The European House – Ambrosettiin collaboration with HP extensionconducted research on the subject, focused on our country, from which interesting ideas emerged, not only on data management but also on the development of the cloud in Italy.
The potential of the data economy in Italy
The research was conducted on a sample of 400 companies, operating in different industries and of different sizes, in order to try to give as accurate a picture as possible of our entrepreneurial system. The first date that pops up is very positive, but it can actually be misleading. Italy is third in Europe for the absolute value of the data economy with a result of 46.9 billion euros. However, if we relate this number to the GDP of different countries, Italy dropped to 18th in the overall standings, with an incidence of 3%, and what is even more worrying is that this figure is growing much slower than the European average. To give an example: Germany, which leads the ranking in absolute terms and sees a percentage impact of the data economy on GDP of 4.3%, is definitely ahead of the main countries of the European Union. In terms of growth, Germany leads with a score of 143.2 for the period 2017-2025 with index value 2021=100, while Italy has 128.6 against a European average of 136.5. Ambrosetti estimates that Italy could earn €3.7 billion if the data economy grew like the European average by 2025. You could say that Italy is like a brilliant student, with great talent but one that isn’t true… a recurring element of our country, especially when you consider our potential in the context of technology.
When it comes to data, the quantitative aspect is only one side of the coin, instead the other, all too often underestimated aspect is linked to it data quality. The second part of the research focused precisely on this aspect and as might have been easily predicted, it turns out that there are three key factors that prevent us from realizing the right value from the use of data in the company: lack of strategic alignment, organizational barriers and abilities. Surprisingly, the research found that among the barriers to getting value from data, 10.7% of respondents said the amount of data is considered insufficient. The lack of skills means that Companies are not even able to evaluate how much and which data is available to themIf we also add that for 23% of companies defining a data-driven strategy is considered a low strategic priority, we can understand that the problem is not just a skills issue, but precisely a lack of technological culture and data valorization.
The challenges for the development of the data economy
Summarizing the research results, Ambrosetti identifies five key challenges for the development of the data economy in Italy, related to specific deficits: a data strategy, a specific budget, organizational responsibilities, data expertise and specific data-driven products/services. More specifically, 35% of companies say they have defined their own data strategyIn most cases, this turns out to be a subset of the broader IT strategy. A bit like what has happened in cybersecurity strategies in the past and in many cases still today. We must therefore hope that, in the future, data strategy will acquire greater autonomy, since it extends to all corporate functions and is of equal, if not greater importance than that of other sectors. Even at the budget level, the investments for the implementation of data projects are considered as a subset of the larger IT budget in about 30% of the cases and only in 27% of the cases the implementation of the data-related strategy by the top management is involved with overarching responsibilities. Apart from other secondary elements of research, it is already evident from the reports that further research is needed a maturation process, by Italian companies, to take advantage of all the opportunities that a concrete data strategy offers. And these opportunities are essential to ensure the competitiveness of our national system in the medium and long term.
The last part of the research focused on the distribution of the cloud in Italy. Even the first data presented appears extremely contradictory at first glance, with 29.4% of those surveyed saying that they chose the cloud because of the guarantees it offered in terms of data sovereignty and control. The contradiction can be explained by the fact that the vast majority of the companies surveyed have implemented solutions from Private Clouds and only about 10% have chosen public cloud solutions instead. In this case, too, an issue of technology culture emerges, since the private cloud can be considered as a first, tentative step into the world of the cloud, but the true potential of this paradigm is offered by the public cloud, where instead The topic of data sovereignty is discussed controversially and several hyperscalers have presented or provided specific solutions to solve the problem. A figure that better explains the evolution of the cloud is that 24.8% of companies with more than 250 employees have already implemented hybrid cloud solutions, while only 6% of companies with fewer than 50 employees have chosen or are adopting such solutions can afford such. This percentage increases to 13.2% for companies with 50 to 249 employees. A key to understanding this data is that significant investments are required to build an effective hybrid cloud architecture that only large enterprises can afford, where more capabilities are more likely to exist as well.
The problem is not only the competence, but also the technology culture
If we can draw any conclusions from the data presented by Ambrosetti, we would like to say that the research confirms a huge potential for our entrepreneurial system through the use of the information resources available to it, but first of all there are objective obstacles cultural character, which prevent us from joining the more virtuous countries. If large companies have the resources to close this gap on their own, the others need an effort from the IT sector and above all from the national system in order not to miss the train of data-based innovation for good.
After a round table with Andrea Toigo from Intel, Mauro Colombo from HPE and Domenico Impellicieri from Fastweb, the research presentation event featured speeches by sociologist Isabella Pierantoni and David Bevilacqua, CEO of Ammagamma.