Global spending in big data analytics technologies, including hardware, software and services, is set to grow by more than 50 per cent between 2015 and 2019, with investments increasing from $122 million to $187 million over the forecast period.

This is according to research from International Data Corporation (IDC), which noted that the key driver of this will be services-related opportunities, with IT services generating more than three times the annual revenues of business services. 

Meanwhile, software will be the second largest category, generating more than $55 billion in revenues in 2019. Hardware spending is expected to grow to nearly $28 billion in 2019.

Jessica Goepfert, Program Director, Customer Insights and Analysis, at IDC, said: "There is little question that big data and analytics can have a considerable impact on just about every industry. Its promise speaks to the pressure to improve margins and performance while simultaneously enhancing responsiveness and delighting customers and prospects.

The most forward-thinking organisations will utilise the technology at every level of their company in order to make better, data-driven decisions, she continued.

The sectors that will show the greatest interest in big data analytics in the coming years include discrete manufacturing, which is expected to be responsible for $22.8 billion worth of investment in 2019, banking ($22.1 billion) and process manufacturing ($16.4 billion).

However, telecommunications, retail, professional services and government services will also each generate revenues of more than $10 billion from big data by 2019, while the fastest-growing sectors include utilities and healthcare, illustrating how the technology can impact every part of the economy.

IDC also noted that it is not just large enterprises that are set to increase their big data investments. Although the largest firms will naturally generate the higher revenues for the industry, with some $140 billion of the total being created by firms with more than 500 employees, small and medium businesses will remain a significant contributor. Nearly a quarter of the worldwide revenues will come from companies with fewer than 500 employees. 

More than half of big data revenue will come from the US, following by Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. However, it will be in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa where the fastest growth is seen, as companies from around the world get on board with the technology.

Dan Vesset, group vice-president of Analytics and Information Management at IDC, said: "Organisations able to take advantage of the new generation of business analytics solutions can leverage digital transformation to adapt to disruptive changes and to create competitive differentiation in their markets." 

He added that these enterprises should not just be using the tools to automate existing processes, they need to treat data as they would any other valuable asset, by using "a focused approach to extracting and developing the value and utility of information".