Tools to assist with big data analytics will be on the agenda for many businesses in the coming year as firms seek to leverage the latest developments in the sector.

This is according to International Data Corporation (IDC), which unveiled its predictions for the market in 2014, noting that what it describes as the 'third platform' will be the primary factor affecting growth. The company defined this as an emerging strategy for innovation based around key pillars including mobility, cloud services, big data analytics and social networking.

Overall, worldwide IT spending is set to increase by five percent year-on-year in 2014, climbing to $2.1 trillion. However, almost 90 percent of this will be accounted for by third platform technologies.

Data analytics products and services, for instance, are set for a 30 percent increase in 2014, with the market predicted to be worth $14 billion. One key challenge for firms in this area will be that demand for skills will continue to outstrip supply, so there will be strong competition to hire the most qualified personnel.

IDC said: "Here the race will be on to develop 'data-optimized cloud platforms', capable of leveraging high volumes of data and/or real-time data streams." 

It also predicted that content providers that are able to offer value-added services will continue to thrive in the next year as enterprises look for new data sources and applications that will help them understand their products, customers and the markets.

Also included in IDC's predictions for the year ahead was further growth for the cloud computing services market. This sector is set to surpass $100 billion in 2014. One consequence of this will be a dramatic increase in the number of data centres needed by the enterprise sector, as cloud vendors race to ensure global scalability.

Frank Gens, senior vice-president and chief analyst at IDC, said: "In 2014, we'll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile and big data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending."