The use of big data analytics by companies is expanding, with new sectors and businesses discovering the many benefits such technology offers.

Organizers of the Big Data Analytics 2012 event in London had forecast the potential value of the anticipated 40 per cent growth in global digital information generated annually over the coming years to the public sector is more than the gross domestic product of Greece at €250 billion (£201 billion).

According to the Washington Post, the proliferation of digital information is providing a valuable opportunity to organizations, with social media data in particular being harnessed by firms to identify trends and provide them with an advantage over competitors.

The newspaper suggests with millions of Twitter posts issued each day, information contained within them can be harnessed in order to make more informed decisions in areas such as financial investments.

A recent article by Computing suggested banks are increasingly turning to customer analytics to enhance the services they provide, examining shopping habits and other trends in order to increase revenues.

In comments made as it was announced retailer Marks & Spencer is planning to launch a banking operation in the UK, Andrew Jennings, FICO chief analytics officer, explained financial services firms need to focus on how to persuade consumers to use cards, something behavior analytics could assist with.

He stated banks are looking at ways of exploiting business intelligence tools to enhance customer service, build loyalty and increase profits, with institutions gradually becoming better at exploiting the information they hold about customers.

"The data is broader than a retailer would get, so it can go very deep and build meaningful profiles of customers," the fraud specialist noted.

With a World Economic Forum report published in 2011 declaring data to be the "new oil" in terms of its rising value as an economic asset class, the era of big data could leave those businesses who fail to take advantage of the information available at a competitive disadvantage.

The report by global economic experts stated: "At its core, personal data represents a post-industrial opportunity. It has unprecedented complexity, velocity and global reach."

However, as IT spending is only expected to increase by five per cent per year, there appears to be a large gulf between the rate at which digital information is being generated and the ability of organizations to fully exploit the opportunities it provides.

This is an area in which companies such as Kognitio can help, with the firm having attended Big Data Analytics 2013 to promote its analytical platform, which offers the fastest and most scalable way of accessing and querying data.

The firm is one of the sponsors of the conference organized by Whitehall Media. It specializes in in-memory analytical processing and business intelligence solutions and its platform is available on-demand via the pay-as-you-go Kognitio Cloud, a fully-configured analytical appliance or on industry-standard servers.

Speaking to the Washington Post recently, Harvard University social science professor Gary King remarked that the rapid growth in big data analytics technology "is changing the world in a big way".

"It enables us to watch changes in society in real time and make decisions in a way we haven't been able to ever before," he declared.