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Big Data Generating Interest but Few Deployments

A survey conducted this summer by Gartner Inc. found high interest in big data among organizations.

Per the June survey, 64 percent of respondents said their organizations were investing in, or planning to invest in, the sort of technologies that are used for big data analyses, up from 58 percent in Gartner's 2012 survey. The June survey drew its data from 720 members of Gartner's Research Circle around the world.

However, few organizations are actually carrying it out with big data deployments. Less than eight percent deployed those technologies, according to Gartner's survey.

"For big data, 2013 is the year of experimentation and early deployment," said Frank Buytendijk, research vice president at Gartner, in a released statement. "Adoption is still at the early stages with less than eight percent of all respondents indicating their organization has deployed big data solutions. Twenty percent are piloting and experimenting, 18 percent are developing a strategy, 19 percent are knowledge gathering, while the remainder has no plans or don't know."

Organizations indicated that they plan to use big data techniques to improve customer experiences (55 percent) or address process efficiencies (49 percent). The industries that typically use big data include "media and communications, banking, and services," according to Gartner's announcement.

Gartner found that organizations are still trying to figure out the value of big data. In last year's survey, respondents were challenged by "governance issues."

In a July Webcast, "Information 2020: Big Data and Beyond," Buytendijk noted that "85 percent of organizations will not get out of big data what they hoped to get out of it." He described big data as a new way of analyzing and storing data vs. the traditional world of using relational databases and data warehouses, although he argued for the benefits of both approaches.

Big data depends on "the three V's," which are variety, velocity and volume, Buytendijk said. He added that the information infrastructure for this big data approach will get better in three years or so, but it's based on the reusability of data. The big data style focuses on the immediate use of data, Hadoop, tool proliferation and hackathons. The next step is to figure out the outcome for the data.

Buytendijk suggested that organizations should try experimenting with big data at this point. He said that information can be considered as an asset that can contribute to the top and bottom lines of an organization. However, he warned that organizations should not "cross the creepy line" by violating customer privacy. On the creepy side, he noted that retailer Target infamously tracked a 16-year-old girl with pregnancy ads. Another example is GPS service provider TomTom, which collected automobile traffic reports from its users that had the potential to be used by police to track speeders.

Big data is expected to generate jobs, but there's a shortage of personnel for it.

"By 2015, big data demand will reach 4.4 million jobs globally, but only one third of those jobs will be filled," Buytendijk said.

Gartner has published a new report on the topic this month. It plans to talk more about big data at its ITxpo event next month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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