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How today's enterprises use Big Data

IT pros quantify their organizations' big data initiatives, investments, and priorities

By , Network World
February 05, 2014 02:46 PM ET

Network World - The hype around big data is feverish, and it's driving enormous spending growth.

Research firm IDC expects the big data technology and services market to grow at a rate of 27% year-over-year, reaching $32.4 billion in 2017. To put that in perspective, the big data market is growing at a rate that’s six times stronger than the overall information and communication technology market, IDC says.

Though the money is flowing, it’s not always clear whether enterprises are finding success as they move past early adoption stages. To find out, researchers polled IT executives and managers, who shared details about their organizations’ big data initiatives, investments, and priorities.

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We’ve highlighted some key findings of the 2014 Big Data Survey, conducted among the audiences of Network World and five fellow IDG Enterprise publications (CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld and ITworld).

The survey polled companies that are in various stages of their big data deployments. Some have already implemented (19%) or are in the process of implementing (25%) big data projects. Others have plans to deploy -- over the next 12 months (16%) or within the next 13-24 months (16%). The remainder (23%) is the least far along; these respondents are likely to implement big data projects in the future but are struggling to find the right strategy or solutions.

In the big picture, big data is becoming more important to companies of all sizes and across all industries. When asked what level of importance their organizations place on big data initiatives, 53% deemed their projects either critical or high priority, and another 34% said moderate priority. Just 12% said it’s a low priority.

big data

Here’s what else they had to say:

1. Businesses want to make better decisions … faster.

Why big data? Because it plays a vital role in the quality and speed of corporate decision-making. The two most popular business goals that are driving companies to invest in big data are to improve the quality of decision-making (cited by 59% of respondents) and to increase the speed of decision-making (53%).

Close behind in the ranking of big data objectives are to improve planning and forecasting (47%); develop new products/services and revenue streams (47%); improve new customer acquisition/customer retention (44%); and build new business partnerships (34%).

2. Petabytes of data? A reality for more large companies.

Companies have amassed enormous datasets about their customers and the business. Among all the survey respondents, the average amount of data currently being managed is 164 terabytes. When asked to look ahead and estimate how much data they expect to be managing 12 to 18 months from now, respondents projected an average of 289 terabytes -- a 76% increase.

Today, 6% of respondents are already managing more than 1 petabyte of data; that percentage will climb to 14% in 12 to 18 months. Among the largest companies (with at least $1 billion in annual revenue), 31% expect to manage more than 1 petabyte of data.

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