Open source business intelligence firm Actuate announced the results of some research which found that 26% of $1bn+ companies are working on Big Data projects today, with a further 34% in the evaluation and planning phase.
Conducted on behalf of Actuate by independent researchers King Research, the report delves in detail into the question, "Big Data: How Real Is It?" It focused on companies with over $1bn in revenue, and 516 survey responses were received.
The research also found that 40% have not evaluated or have evaluated and plan not to proceed. This group stated major inhibitors were 'not enough staff with expertise' and the 'expected cost of Big Data initiatives'.
Big data will have driven $28bn of worldwide IT spending in 2012, according to the analyst firm Gartner. In 2013, Big Data is forecast by the same researchers to drive $34bn of IT spending.
But interestingly, by no means all of that spending is on Big Data analytics software: according to the firm, most of the current spending is used in adapting traditional solutions to the big data demands - machine data, social data, widely varied data, unpredictable velocity, and so on - and only $4.3bn in software sales will have been driven directly by demands for new Big Data functionality in 2012.
Companies looking to move ahead with Big Data most frequently evaluated or mentioned the following technologies: Apache Hadoop, Cloudera Hadoop, Apache Hive, Apache HBase and Greenplum, a division of EMC.
Most frequently mentioned Big Data applications implemented or planned at companies with $1bn+ revenue are: customer experience analysis (the most frequently cited application), customer insights, fraud prevention and analysis, market targeting, behavioural analysis, customer lifecycle analysis and operations improvement.
Of companies currently working on Big Data projects, 73% share their insights with more than 500 people within their organisation. Most said they have fewer than ten people on their Big Data teams.
"No matter the stage of implementation, this survey shows the concept of Big Data is here to stay, and brings to the forefront the need for intuitive, powerful BI and analytics tools that can be used by all levels of the organisation," said Nobby Akiha, SVP marketing at Actuate. "As seen in the research, the real challenge is how to distil this massive amount of data into something that's digestible and meaningful - data that can be used to make qualified decisions. "
In descending order of frequency of mention the major benefits expected from Big Data initiatives at $1bn+ companies are: make better decisions, faster; gain competitive advantage; improve efficiency; and finally improve customer targeting.