IT research firm Gartner published the results of a survey carried out in June among 302 companies worldwide regarding their views on big data. Seventy-three percent of respondents said they have invested in big data or plan to do so within the next two years, up from 64 percent in 2013. Conversely, only 24 percent say they have no plans for big data investment, down from 31 percent a year ago.
In North America, 47 percent of businesses have already begun investing, although Gartner noted that the majority of that investment is going to experimental or pilot plans, and few companies have fully implemented big data strategies. The area that has seen a greatest increase in big data application over the past year has been enhancing customer experience.
One statistic surprised the surveyors: when asked what data sources they planned on adding in the future, every option received between 30 and 40 percent of affirmative responses, including audio and video. "This overly optimistic and apparently random nature of future data sources for analysis indicates two things," said Gartner research director Nick Heudecker. "First, organizations don't have a plan for what they're going to do next. Picking everything isn't a strategy. It indicates a fear of missing out on an opportunity yet to be defined. Also, there may be a certain amount of hubris at work. If organizations can 'do big data' on transactions and log data, they may assume they can also leverage more challenging data sources as easily."
Custom database software can help companies make the most of the possibilities of big data, by organizing the information and making it easy to analyze and focus on particular areas that will yield the best results.