The Spotlight Continues to Shine on Big Data

Big Data Study - The Spotlight Continues to Shine on Big DataBig Data has become big news almost overnight, and there are no signs that interest is waning. In fact, several indicators suggest executive attention will climb even higher. Over the last three years, few business topics have been mentioned in the media and researched as extensively as Big Data. Hundreds of articles have appeared in the general business press (for example, Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist), technology publications and industry journals, and more seem to be written by the day. A March 2013 search on surfaces more than 250 books, articles and e-books on the topic, most of them published in the last three years.

Dozens of studies have been conducted on Big Data as well, and every week another one appears. Most of the big consulting firms and IT services companies have weighed in, as well as (of course) the technology research community: Gartner, Forrester, IDC and many of the rest. And the number of times the seven letters “Big Data” have been clicked into a Google search has exploded in the last three years. (See Exhibit I-1)

Exhibit I-1: A Billowing Number of “Big Data” Online Searches

The term saw relatively little usage in online searches in the first half of 2010. And this Google Trend information shows ’Big Data’ was of particularly keen interest in certain countries (Exhibit I-2): India, South Korea, the U.S., Australia, Canada, Western Europe, and Brazil.

Exhibit I-2: Regional interest for “Big Data” Online Searches

The Emerging Big Returns on Big Data:

In 2012, we launched our own study on Big Data. We designed it to shed insights on six core issues, ones on which we felt the marketplace was looking for greater clarity:

  1. How much are companies investing in Big Data, and what kinds of returns are they achieving on their spending?
  2. What are companies in 12 industries doing with Big Data? That is, in which business functions and specific activities are they focusing their investments?
  3. What kinds of digitized data are they finding to be the most important?
  4. How are they organizing the professionals who process and analyze Big Data (e.g., embedded in business functions, in a central analytics group, etc.), and what are the pros and cons of those reporting relationships?
  5. What are the biggest challenges of turning Big Data into insights that enable the company to make far better and faster decisions?
  6. What is the current state of the technology, and where is it going?

Introduction and Key Findings

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