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BARC Study on Data Mesh: Game Changer or Just Hot Air?

Passau, May 16, 2023 – The data mesh concept is on everyone’s lips: it promises to help companies unlock the value of their data. But how exactly can this concept be introduced and what role do principles such as domain ownership and data as a product play? BARC, a leading analyst firm for data and analytics, put this question to data managers at various companies, with the results published in in the study “Data Mesh: Game Changer or Just Hot Air?”. It brings a few surprising findings to light. As a provider of software that helps companies implement the data mesh concept, One Data was a sponsor of this study. In the preface, Dr. Andreas Böhm, Managing Director of One Data GmbH, explains how to overcome the main obstacles that stand in the way of creating a decentralized data culture.

In total, 85% of respondents believe data mesh is definitely “relevant”, with 54% planning to implement or having already implemented this socio-technical approach. These are the results of the survey conducted among approximately 300 individuals from various industries. “I was surprised by these high percentages,” states Dr. Böhm. “The topic is attracting a lot of attention. In the past, we often had to explain the specific benefits before setting out how we put the basic principles into practice with our software. This situation has now changed. Companies are now well aware of data mesh,” explains Dr. Böhm.

The study takes a close look at the views held by IT managers with regard to the basic principles of data mesh. For example, the study asks whether qualitative product principles should be applied to data and whether the data and analytics expertise of individual departments should be reinforced. The survey also addresses practical issues arising from day-to-day work situations. Respondents were asked, for example, to determine whether they can access the data they need from a centralized location at any time. “The percentage confirmed by the study is terribly low, though it does not come as a surprise to me. These companies have collected huge volumes of data, which they have then left virtually untouched. This is consistent with what I have experienced in the past 20 years,” states Dr. Böhm.

The study also reveals a few contradictions: although the majority of respondents believe data mesh is relevant, comparatively few companies are willing to shift responsibility for their data to their departments, as envisaged under the data mesh concept. “For me, a key finding of this study is that we need to bring data and business teams closer together. One way to do this is through technology, and this is exactly what our software does in its role as a collaborative data platform. In this context, the BARC study helps us to better understand the need for support and further explanation,” concludes Dr. Böhm.

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