International Data Corporation (IDC) has unveiled its key predictions for the issues the big data analytics sector will be dealing with in 2015, with the firm forecasting continued strong growth for the industry.

Dan Vesset, programme vice-president for business analytics and big data research at the firm, stated that many leading organisations are looking to change how they measure the effectiveness of their operations, their interactions with customers and how they allocate resources in the coming year. It will therefore be increasingly common to rely on analytics to aid with their decision-making.

"Faster access to more relevant data and constant experimentation is creating a further gap between leaders and the rest of the organisations," he continued. "It is also creating new challenges for IT and business leaders tasked with their organisation's big data and analytics strategy and execution."

Among the key trends that will be seen in 2015, IDC highlighted cloud computing as one that is set to see a great deal of interest. The firm forecast that spending on cloud-based big data analytics solutions will grow three times faster than on-premises solutions, while hybrid deployments that combine both on and off-premises systems will become a requirement.

At the same time, visual data discovery tools will be another strong area of growth. IDC predicted that this will increase 2.5 times faster than rest of the business intelligence market. By 2018, investing in this technology, which the company described as an "enabler of end-user self service" will become essential for all enterprises.

However, the continued expansion of big data programmes will still create challenges for businesses, with a lack of skilled staff to manage them among the top issues.

By 2018, IDC estimated there will be 181,000 deep analytics roles in the US alone that require filling, with five times that many positions requiring some data management and interpretation skills.

Other factors that will influence big data projects in 2015 and beyond include the growing importance of the Internet of Things and increasing use of applications that incorporate advanced predictive analytics, including machine learning.