Revenues for big data and analytics (BDA) commodities are projected to to reach $210 billion by 2020, according to a recent forecast from IDC. Such significant investment begs several questions. What industries are pushing this growth? What is the perceived value from more sophisticated BDA practices? Perhaps most importantly, how can businesses continue to refine and update these practices as the technology matures?
According to IDC, nearly half of that forecasted $210 billion will comprise investment from banking, discrete and process manufacturing, central government, and professional services. However, the report also noted that banking, healthcare, insurance, investment services, and telecoms are expected to grow their BDA spending most rapidly over the next three years.
So what are organizations gaining from this investment? According to NewVenture’s 2016 survey of “senior Fortune 1000 business and technology decision-makers”, the quest for insight remains the most-cited argument for big data spending. Businesses are looking for an edge by snagging the most relevant, helpful information, understanding it more accurately than their competition, and converting on that value with greater speed.
Interestingly, a healthy variety of data sources is widely seen as more important that volume or velocity. In NewVenture’s survey, 40% of participating firms cited a high-priority need to integrate data from new and legacy sources. Of course, this emphasis leads to additional challenges: how to make sure disparate data sources can “talk to” each other? How can businesses update their data management strategies to incorporate new sources like IoT output or social data? And in an increasingly automated data landscape, how can businesses lend structure to raw or messy data in order to facilitate hands-free machine learning projects?
The challenge: Actually using the data
Data and analytics professionals are often forced to spend too much time cleaning data, even when the real value from BDA practices lies on the other end of that pipeline — interpreting and acting on the output is where all this work is converted to better KPIs. Therefore, expect to see more investment in products and services that facilitate cleaner data and more flexible integration from varied sources.
The BDA world is growing, but it’s also becoming more accessible. By partnering with firms that address the challenges of adopting a data-driven culture, businesses can keep up with more sophisticated competitors without reinventing the wheel.