As big data continues its surge in popularity, so does investment in the technology. The year 2013 will see 64% of organisations investing or planning to invest in big data technology, up 10% from last year.
However, for many it is still just a vision as Gartner found that less than 8% of survey respondents have actually deployed big data.
"The hype around big data continues to drive increased investment and attention, but there is real substance behind the hype," said Lisa Kart, research director at Gartner. "Our survey underlines the fact that organisations across industries and geographies see 'opportunity' and real business value rather than the 'smoke and mirrors' with which hypes usually come."
The Gartner survey of 720 Gartner Research Circle members worldwide, was designed to examine organisations' technology investment plans around big data, stages of big data adoption, business problems solved, data, technology and challenges.
The survey found that of the 64% of organisations investing or planning to invest in big data technology in 2013, 30% have already invested in big data technology, 19% plan to invest within the next year, and an additional 15% plan to invest within two years.
Industries leading big data investments in 2013 are media and communications, banking, and services. Industries planning on investing over the next two years include transport, healthcare and insurance.
"For big data, 2013 is the year of experimentation and early deployment," said Frank Buytendijk, research vice president at Gartner. "Adoption is still at the early stages with less than 8% of all respondents indicating their organisation has deployed big data solutions. 20% are piloting and experimenting, 18% are developing a strategy, 19% are knowledge gathering, while the remainder has no plans or don't know."
Looking at big data adoption for those organisations that have made investments, 70% have moved past the early knowledge gathering and strategy formation phases and into piloting (44%) and deployment (25%). Among those planning to invest during the next two years, 80% are in the earlier stages (knowledge gathering and strategy phase).
James Riley, Global Head of Innovation, HCL Technologies commented: "The Gartner report certainly supports the notion that more organisations are looking to invest in Big Data projects. The volume, velocity and variety of Big Data make it very different from traditional data analysis. The types of data processing involved and the magnitude at which it needs to be done requires a well thought through strategy and approach.
"The excitement around Big Data quickly needs to be translated into business value to justify the not inconsiderable investments required. Big Data projects typically fail because organisations try to do too much too soon and don't have the necessary underlying technological architecture or people to properly support it. Organisations need to learn to walk before they can run when it comes to Big Data. So organisations need to fully understand what is possible with Big Data and how it can help them achieve their corporate goals."
Some of the big data activities are incremental to current business practices; for example, better understanding customer needs, making processes more efficient, further reducing costs or better detecting risks. These make up the majority of the use cases today.
Some organisations are engaging in more "game-changing" activities; for example, 42% are developing new products and business models, and 23% are monetising information directly.
"While there are many areas companies would like to address, a slightly different picture emerges when we ask about the priority of these categories," said Ms Kart. "Different industries have different priorities when it comes to big data. Industries that are driving the customer experience priority are retail, insurance, media and communications, and banking, while process efficiency is a top priority for manufacturing, government, education, healthcare and transportation organisations."
Just as big data priorities are changing, Gartner has observed that big data challenges shift with organisational maturity in information management, especially handling big data. Organisations are struggling most this year with knowing how to get value from big data, compared with last year's top challenge of governance issues.
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