The transformative effect that good use of big data analytics can have on a firm's operations is set to become even clearer in the coming years, as a large majority of activities are expected be disrupted by this.

It was forecast by Gartner that by 2020, 80 per cent of business processes and products will have been reinvented, digitised or eliminated altogether as a result of improved access to information. 

This will be driven largely by the growing presence of the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes connected devices, sensors and smart machines. As these technologies grow more prolific, the ability of companies to generate new types of real-time information and to use these to actively boost their value stream will also increase.

In an article for Forbes, research vice-president at Gartner Doug Laney said: "Customers, employees and citizens will become engaged principally through digital means. With operational processes quickly becoming digitised, traditional analogue and manual processes will be automated, including both physical and human elements."

With a growing number of decisions being based on the outcome of big data analytics – and many of these taken automatically based on judgements reached by algorithms – effective solutions for managing and processes this growing amount of data will therefore be paramount.

The IoT will also have a major impact on customer-facing analytics deployments, as businesses seek to not only gain more information on their users, but provide them with additional details. For instance, more than 20 per cent of such deployments will provide product tracking information from IoT solutions by 2017.

This could be used to boost customer service by offering information to customers on where their order is or how well their products are functioning. Mr Laney said it could, for example, tell a customer their new car is currently en route to being delivered or give them an alert when it is ready for its first oil change.

He added: "This creates an opportunity to improve transparency and strengthen customer and partner relationships. It can become a key differentiator and a key part of your business model."

However, Gartner also noted that for many organisations, the information they have in their data warehouses will be insufficient for creating the type of data-driven outcomes that will provide value. Firms need data to provide vital context for decision-making across all aspects of their operations, but often, the most relevant details are buried within the 'noise' created by the connected world.

As a result, the research firm predicted many businesses will come to rely more heavily on intermediaries that can provide them with the right information to provide context to their planning. By 2017, it estimated more than 30 per cent of enterprise access to big data will be conducted via broker services.

"Your company's biggest database isn't your transaction, CRM, ERP or other internal database," Mr Laney said. "Rather, it's the web itself and the world of exogenous data now available from syndicated and open data sources."