With the growth of structured and unstructured data, the sheer magnitude of information in today’s business environment is incredible. But don’t feel overwhelmed just yet, because it’s about to get even bigger. Big Data is projected to dominate in 2014.

Big Data by the numbers

According to research firm Gartner, totals for Big Data-related IT spending in 2013 are expected to reach $34 billion, with some predicting that number will triple in the next five years. Need more proof? There’s plenty:

  • McKinsey & Company notes that the use of Big Data will become a key basis for competition and growth. The consulting firm believes that the use of Big Data will cause new waves of productivity and consumer surplus.
  • A study by storage provider NetApp and government portal maker MeriTalk shows that 97 percent of their customers believe their data will increase over the next two years, with 57 percent identifying improved efficiency as the key benefit.
  • Research firm IDC predicts that from now until 2020, the digital universe will double about every two years. Investment in spending on IT hardware, software, services, telecommunications, and staff will grow by 40 percent between 2012 and 2020.

Get ready

To begin the process of handling Big Data and making it work for your organization, there are several potential directions to consider:

  • Understand what needs to change in your IT infrastructure. One suggestion, from the guide “Transform IT for Big Data,”  is to look at which areas of your infrastructure should be prime targets for a Big Data upgrade. For example, processing will change because data volumes are increasing faster than computing resources, which puts a strain on data centers.

Also, you’ll have to be aware of how networking demands will affect your setup. Are your networking resources large enough to handle terabyte-size files? If not, that may be a top area for transformation.

  • Always consider security issues. Big Data can bring big concerns when it comes to data protection and compliance. When transforming a system, you’ll need a thorough examination of the Big Data security issues related to your infrastructure. For example, a comprehensive risk profile of your environment can highlight gaps and trouble spots.
  • Enlist outside experts. Many organizations find that experts can be helpful for bolstering changes, because that outside experience can bring in more big-picture thinking. These experts often start with strategy and architecture services and develop a larger plan that includes infrastructure, security, education, and risk management.

Regulatory data privacy requirements are also key, so any assessment should consider those. Outside experts can be helpful here, too, since they can provide a roadmap for closing potential gaps and a thorough risk assessment across your organization.

The future is now

No matter how you might be preparing your organization for change, one of the most important aspects of Big Data is simply recognizing the potential for more powerful data analytics, better business intelligence solutions, and stronger infrastructure.

Big Data is here and poised to make a major impact. What are you doing to harness its potential?

For more thoughts on prepping your organization, download this handy guide: “Transform IT for Big Data.”


Adam Shomaker is a Strategic Alliance Manager with Sirius Computer Solutions.