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73% of Organisations Have Invested or Plan to Invest in Big Data in the Next Two Years

Business Priorities for Big Data Continue to Revolve Around Enhancing Customer Experience

Investment in big data technologies continues to expand, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc., which found that 73% of respondents have invested or plan to invest in big data in the next 24 months, up from 64% in 2013. The survey also indicates organisations are starting to get off the fence about their big data investment — the number of organisations stating they had no plans for big data investment fell from 31% in 2013 to 24% in 2014.

The Gartner survey of 302 Gartner Research Circle members worldwide, which was conducted in June 2014, was designed to explore organisations' technology investment plans relating to big data, stages of big data adoption, business problems solved, data, technology and challenges and compare the results with those from previous years.

"Big data investment continues to be led by North America, with 47% of organisations reporting investment, up from 37.8% in 2013," said Nick Heudecker, research director at Gartner. "All the other regions experienced increases in investment over the last year."

However, this increased investment has not led to an associated increase in organisations reporting deployed big data projects. Like 2013, much of the work today revolves around strategy development and the creation of pilots and experimental projects.

"Last year, we said 2013 was big data's year of experimentation and early deployment," said Mr Heudecker. "So is 2014. In 2013, only 8% of organisations reported having big data projects deployed to production. This has increased to 13% in 2014, and while still relatively small, represents a sizeable increase. However, the 6% drop in organisations still gathering knowledge about big data and the 7% increase in pilots and experiments indicate that organisations are evolving in their understanding and willingness to explore big data opportunities."

"Big data can help address a wide range of business problems across many industries and for the third year in our study, both enhancing the customer experience and improving process efficiency are the top areas to address," said Lisa Kart, research director at Gartner. "The most dramatic changes are in enhancing customer experience, especially in transportation, healthcare, insurance, media and communications, retail, and banking. Another area where we see an increase is using big data to develop information products, where organisations are looking to monetise their data. This is especially true among IT vendors, government and manufacturing."

Gartner continues to see strong investments and planned investments across all vertical industries with communications and media continuing to lead the pack with 53% of organisations surveyed having already invested and a further 33% planning investments in big data technology.

The other year-to-year changes in the survey findings are a function of the adoption stage. As organisations move beyond knowledge gathering and developing a strategy to making investments, piloting and deploying, the challenges they face become more practical. Those with no big data plans feel the big hurdles are determining how to get value from big data, defining a strategy, leadership or organisational issues, and even still trying to understand what big data is. In the planning stages, beyond determining value, the top challenges are obtaining skills and capabilities needed, defining strategy, obtaining funding, and beginning to think about infrastructure issues. Companies that are further along with investments must begin to address risk and governance issues, data integration and infrastructure.

When it comes to the volume, variety and velocity aspects of big data, volume received most of the focus. Increasing data volume is easily understandable: you're getting the same data you had before, but at massive scale. Volume is also the easiest to deal with by increasing storage and compute capacity. On the other hand, data variety is far more challenging. Getting value from a variety of data sources, such as social media feeds, machine and sensor data, as well as free-form text, requires not only increased storage capacity, but also different tools and the skills to use them.

The challenges introduced by analyzing a variety of data sources may explain why most organisations are studying traditional data sources for their big data projects. Those organisations analysing transactions increased from 70% in 2013 to 79% in 2014, while those analysing log data fell slightly by 2%. Interestingly, both types of social media data sources — profiles and interactions — fell over the last year, which may be caused by the difficulty in integrating social media data sources with other types of data, such as transactions.

"We got a surprising result when we asked respondents which data sources they planned on adding in the future," said Mr Heudecker. Every data source received roughly 30% to 40% of responses, including extremely challenging data sources like audio and video. This overly optimistic and apparently random nature of future data sources for analysis indicates two things.

“First, organisations 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 organisations can 'do big data' on transactions and log data, they may assume they can also leverage more challenging data sources as easily," Mr Heudecker concluded.

Additional information is available in the report "Survey Analysis: Big Data Investment Grows but Deployments Remain Scarce in 2014." The report can be found at

Big data trends will be discussed further at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014, 9-13 November in Barcelona. More information on the event is available at Members of the media can register for the event by contacting Laurence Goasduff at

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

About Gartner
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 6,400 associates, including more than 1,480 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit

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Mardi 23 Septembre 2014