Big Data may have been making big headlines -- and sparked more than a few multimillion-dollar deals -- in recent years, but according to Gartner, 2013 is the year that Big Data activity will kick into high gear.
In a global survey of IT leaders, the research firm discovered that 42 percent of respondents have invested in technologies that support Big Data or have plans to do so within a year. According to Gartner research vice president Doug Laney, such a healthy rate of adoption suggests the industry is making headway in demystifying Big Data.
"Organizations have increased their understanding of what Big Data is and how it could transform the business in novel ways," said Laney in statement.
Enterprises are waking up to the potential of Big Data technologies, asserts Gartner. In some cases, it may be one of the few paths left open to them in their quest for bigger and better business opportunities.
"They turn to Big Data technology for two reasons: necessity and conviction," said Gartner. Essentially, organizations are running into the limits of traditional data sources and business intelligence applications.
Hype plays into it, too. And when a big IT outfit like IBM starts sniffing around, it's hard for the industry not to take notice.
Last year, Big Blue raised eyebrows by snapping up Big Data specialists at a fast clip. Notable acquisitions included Vivisimo, a maker of federated discovery and navigation software for Big Data analysis, and Varicent, a sales data analytics specialist. In December, IBM parted with a cool $1.3 billion to acquire Kenexa, a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) specialist, to help fold HCM into the company's analytics portfolio.
Despite the pressure placed on the industry by high-profile moves like these, Gartner research vice president Frank Buytendijk suggests the market is still young and wide open.
"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 Buytendijk.
Navigating the Big Data technology landscape remains a challenge, but organizations are starting to figure things out. Gartner predicts that by 2015 "20 percent of Global 1000 organizations will have established a strategic focus on 'information infrastructure' equal to that of application management."