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Big data ‘a key priority’ for firms in 2014

The coming year will see many firms shift their attitudes towards big data analytics, placing tools to take advantage of this placed at the top of their spending priorities.

This is according to a new report compiled by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Savvis. It revealed seven out of ten IT decision-makers say big data projects will be highly important to their strategy in 2014.

But it warned there will be a lot of work for many organizations to do to achieve this. The research found the majority of firms are only analyzing an average of 12 percent of the information they collect at the moment. Savvis observed this means there is a huge amount of untapped potential residing within enterprise data warehouses.

It highlighted figures from International Data Corporation that forecast the amount of data around the world is set to double every two years. This means that there will be 40 trillion gigabytes of information in existence by 2020 and the ability to access and analyze this information for insight will be critical to the success of all companies, regardless of their size or sector.

If tapped into, this huge amount of data can have a “profound impact on nearly every aspect of business,” said senior director and solution lead for big data at Savvis Milan Vaclavik. These benefits range from operational efficiencies and product development to customer interactions and management processes.

One of the best ways to capture and analyze this data and turn it into actionable insight is to take advantage of Hadoop. This platform makes it easier, faster and cheaper to manage very large data sets and many companies are already examining the potential of the technology with proof-of-concept deployments.

However, Forrester found only 16 percent of survey respondents have progressed this to the production stage. Mr Vaclavik explained this is because making the transition from concept to production requires a whole new solution.

He said: “Implementing a big data solution requires planning, architecture, talent, flawless execution, the right combination of qualities to accelerate performance and optimization.”

Forrester therefore identified seven key factors that will necessary for big data analytics environments to have before they are ready for production. These are manageability, availability, performance, scalability, adaptability, security and cost.

Many of these big data project should be oriented towards providing customers with a higher level of service. Forrester stated in a recent blog post that while many companies are looking towards a “promised land” of targeted marketing and personalized communications, this is often not being seen in the real world, despite many enterprises recognizing that we are now in the ‘age of the customer’.

Analyst at the firm Martha Bennett said: “Having the right data available at the right time, appropriately governed, isn’t just the foundation for that elusive ‘360 degree view of the customer’ – it’s essential to gain and keep customers’ trust.”

She added that firms need to be doing more to take advantage of the details they have on their customers and prioritize their projects based on data quality and how they access this information.

Forrester Research highlighted Big Data in a number of reports over the past year, including their well-recognized Forrester Wave for Enterprise Data Warehouses.  In that report, they outlined the importance of analytics and role of Hadoop in the enterprise as becoming increasing more important over the next years.

A blog on the original Forrester Consulting Survey for Savvis can be found on their website.