IT Trends | Research

IT Investments in Big Data Increasing Across the Board

Nearly half of all organizations have invested in big data technologies or will do so in the coming year, according to information technology research firm Gartner. The education sector, in particular, has the opportunity to capitalize on a growing trend in big data: broadening the range of data sources to include "dark data."

"2013 will be the year of larger scale adoption of big data technologies," according to market research firm Gartner, which released a new report on big data initiatives today.

The report, "Big Data, Bigger Opportunities: Investing in Information and Analytics," indicated that 42 percent of IT professional surveyed across sectors said they have invested in big data technologies or will do so in the coming year.

"Organizations have increased their understanding of what big data is and how it could transform the business in novel ways. The new key questions have shifted to 'What are the strategies and skills required?' and 'How can we measure and ensure our return on investment?'" said Doug Laney, research vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Most organizations are still in the early stages, and few have thought through an enterprise approach or realized the profound impact that big data will have on their infrastructure, organizations and industries."

According to the report, two factors are driving the increase in adoption: "necessity and conviction," driven in part by media hype and in part by the perception that business opportunities are being missed owing to shortcomings in traditional tools.

"This makes IT and business leaders worry that they are behind competitors in launching their big data initiatives. Not to worry, ideas and opportunities at this time are boundless, and some of the biggest big data ideas come from adopting and adapting ideas from other industries," said Frank Buytendijk, research vice president at Gartner, also in a prepared statement. "Still, this makes it challenging to cut through the hype when evaluating big data technologies, approaches and project alternatives."

The report singled out education as a sector that has the opportunity to integrate and analyze "a variety of data sources" — by information like operational data, public data, and social data with "dark data" like e-mails, multimedia, and enterprise content — to "achieve the most extraordinary business insights, process optimization and, of course, decision making. Although most of the big data hype is about handling the sheer size and speed of data available, our research shows that the ultimate wins will be from those making sense of the broadening range of data sources."

"Business and IT executives regularly say that information is one of their company's greatest assets," Laney said. "Businesses are increasingly managing and deploying information more effectively than ever, but certainly not with the well honed asset management discipline applied to their traditional material, financial or other intangible assets. The application of formal information valuation models will allow IT, information management and business leaders to make better-informed decisions on information management (IM), enrichment, security, risks, purchasing, collection, usage, bartering, productization and disposal."

Further, the report's authors predicted that, by 2015, a fifth of the top 1,000 organizations globally "will have established a strategic focus on "information infrastructure" equal to that of application management."

The compete report is available for Gartner clients. A free webinar discussing the findings will be held March 26 at at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Eastern. Registration is required. Additional details can be found on Gartner's webinar portal.

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