A new data center research report released May 7 on the state of big data analytics shows that there are no stand-alone market leaders as yet, and as such the sector is clearly a wide-open opportunity for new and established IT vendors alike.
The study, conducted by eWEEK's publisher, QuinStreet Inc., found that not only is the trend of using big data analytics now a high priority for most U.S. businesses, but that a high majority of enterprises are actively planning to add this functionality in the short term—meaning within the next two years.
In short, big data analytics means keeping as much business data as possible in secure storage or archives so that it can be queried and used on demand to chart and project business trends.
Big Data Installations Clearly a Priority
Highlights from the QuinStreet research include:
--43 percent of respondents say that at this time they have no lead vendor helping them with big data analytics installations or plans for installations;
--77 percent of respondents consider big data analytics a priority;
--72 percent cite enhancing the speed and accuracy of business decisions as a top benefit of big data analytics; and
--71 percent of midsized and larger companies have plans for, or are currently involved with, big data initiatives.
The third data point here is especially interesting because the midrange enterprise sector has been projected by virtually all IT analysts to be the fastest-growing segment of the industry during the next decade and beyond.
When asked to rate the value to an organization of using big data, 74 percent of respondents clearly agreed that the improved and timely access to decision-making information was of high importance and that big data analytics would make their information more transparent and more usable.
Seventy-two percent said big data analytics would allow more accurate and timely decision-making. Other organizational benefits at the top of the list included providing real-time
access to data (65 percent), more timely integration of data (63 percent), quicker determination when changes needed to be made (63 percent) and automated decision-making (61 percent).
The top three big data analytics applications being bought or considered for purchase by IT decision-makers are analytics databases, business intelligence tools and relational databases.
Questions About How It Would Impact the Business
However, as is the case with any new product or service, respondents had some reservations about how a big data analytics initiative might impact other parts of the enterprise.
For example, most IT decision-makers queried said they were concerned with project and management costs, how to scale their legacy infrastructures to accommodate the
large volumes of data to be analyzed, and overcoming the nagging problem of breaking down data silos and integrating new and updated applications into the big data analytics engine.
One of the more surprising highlights of the survey, coordinated by QuinStreet Marketing Manager Jeff Horning and Marketing Researcher Sal Salamone, came when participants were asked to select which vendors they were working or planned to work with to provide their organization with big data analytics. The top answer, with 43 percent of the total, was "none." Only one vendor (as one might imagine, it was IBM) got more than 10 percent of the votes (12 percent).
That pretty much leaves no question that enterprises are looking at a wide range of possible vendor partners for new installations.
Big Data Analytics Encompasses a Wide Range of IT
Big data analytics describes a broad range of IT and applications. For the purposes of this
survey, the definition used was similar to that described by McKinsey Research, which states that big data comprises "data sets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze."
In other works, we're talking terabytes and petabytes of data as opposed to gigabytes and megabytes.
Data sets of most interest to enterprises include traditional structured databases of inventories, orders and customer information; unstructured data from the Internet; social networking sites; and intelligent devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
All that data must be captured, formatted, manipulated, stored and analyzed to gain useful insight to help a company increase revenues, get or retain customers, and improve operations.
The QuinStreet Enterprise Big Data research study was conducted using an email invitation to our subscriber audience. Only subscribers involved in big data purchasing decisions were allowed to take the online survey. The survey was fielded between Oct. 22, 2013, and Nov. 8, 2013. In total, 540 big data decision-makers completed the survey. That yields a margin of error in the results of +/- 4.3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.