More money in big data initiatives, Gartner argues – but is the ROI still unclear?

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

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The big data landscape is approaching a state of maturation: according to the latest note from analyst house Gartner, more money is being invested in big data but fewer companies are deciding to commit.

The research, which polled almost 200 members of the Gartner Research Circle, found that 48% of companies have invested in big data this year – up 3% from this time last year – but also argued that only a quarter (25%) plan to invest in the coming years, down from 31% in 2015.

One area which remained relatively unchanged was with regard to getting big data projects from ideation to creation. Gartner argues the issue of organisations being stuck in the pilot phase remains an important one; 15% of respondents reported deploying their big data project protection in the most recent survey, compared with 14% this time last year.

Gartner argues a couple of reasons may be behind the findings. Big data projects seem to be receiving less spending priority than other IT initiatives, while similarly there is also a lack of return on investment reported. This may change as the big data term dissipates; in other words, as dealing with multiple strands of data and larger datasets becomes the de facto method.

“The big issue is not so much big data itself, but rather how it is used,” said Nick Heudecker, Gartner research director. “While organisations have understood that big data is not just about a specific technology, they need to avoid thinking about big data as a separate effort.” Research director Jim Hare added: “When it comes to big data, many organisations are still finding themselves at the crafting stage. Industrialisation – and the performance and stability guarantees that come with it – have yet to penetrate big data thinking.”

A recent report from Forrester Research found that, in terms of big data technologies, NoSQL and Hadoop were forecast to grow the quickest, with the pharmaceutical, transport and primary production industries the fastest growing.

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