Commentary

Most Companies Investing in Big Data, But Social Lags

Roughly three out of four big companies (73%) plan to invest in big data technologies over the next 24 months, according to a new survey of 302 organizations by research outfit Gartner. That figure is up from 64% in the 2013 survey. Meanwhile the number of companies with no plans to invest in big data fell from 31% to 24% over the same period, with the balance in both cases undecided.

The number of companies currently investing in big data is somewhat lower, but as many as half of the respondents were already budgeting for it North America, according to Gartner research director Nick Heudecker, who stated: “Big data investment continues to be led by North America, with 47 percent of organizations reporting investment, up from 37.8 percent in 2013.”

On the other hand only 13% of organizations polled said they already have big data projects deployed, up from 8% in 2013, reflecting how new the discipline remains. Meanwhile the number of companies running pilots and experiments with big data increased 7%.

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In terms of business categories investing in big data, media and communications is leading the way, with 53% of companies surveyed already investing, and another 33% planning to invest in the next 24 months. Turning to sources of information, unsurprisingly transactional data is the most popular area of focus: 79% of companies with big data projects said they are analyzing transactions, up from 70% in 2013.

By contrast the two biggest categories of social media data -- profiles and interactions -- are actually receiving slightly less attention from big data projects, according to Gartner, which speculates that this may be due to obstacles which make it difficult to tie social data to transactions.

Gartner research director Lisa Kart noted the variety of potential applications for big data: “The most dramatic changes are in enhancing customer experience, especially in transportation, healthcare, insurance, media and communications, retail, and banking. Another area where we see an increase is using big data to develop information products, where organizations are looking to monetize their data. This is especially true among IT vendors, government and manufacturing.”

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