For companies still hesitant about buying into big data and analytics, 2013 is the year to get off the sidelines or risk being left behind by your competitors.
That’s was the opinion expressed by analysts Dan Vesset and Ashish Nadkarni, both of market research firm IDC, in a Jan. 8 webinar where they laid out 10 predictions for big data in 2013.
“The days of cautiously exploring these technologies are over,” Vesset said.
Once prospective buyers do jump into the market there are of wide variety choices for every sort of business use case. “Big data” is more than just storage or analytics. It includes infrastructure, data management and end user applications.
“Big data is not a one size fits all platform or situation,” Nadkarni said. “It’s as diverse as you can imagine. Market consolidation, they said, likely won’t start until 2014 and beyond as the market chooses which technologies work best.
That diversity can represent a boon for companies looking to start or expand programs using data driven insights.But the analysts also presented several caveats.
Nadkarni said businesses will have to choose between a single major vendor with several connected offerings, with “one throat to choke,” for customer service or a multi-vendor portfolio that will afford greater flexibility (holding off “lock-in”) while making their IT systems more challenging to manage.
The diversity of options has a few other side effects on the market. Vesset said the biggest obstacle for widespread adoption of big data technologies continues to be a lack of skilled data science workers. As a result big data consulting and professional services companies will flourish, both in North America and off-shore in places like India and China.
That skills shortage means companies also will produce pre-configured, ready-to-go appliances and cloud-based web applications that customers can turn on use immediately.
Investment in big data technologies is likely to grow from the $8.1 billion in 2012 to around $11 billion this year, according to IDC’s research. With market consolidation still years away, vendors already producing technologies will have to fight off challenges from companies in other sectors.
Nadkarni pointed to Amazon, who recently was simply an online retailer and now is a major player in the cloud data storage and analytics market, and MetaScale, a retail and customer analytics company spun off from Sears Holdings.
A major challenge to traditional data storage and computing platform companies will come from the cloud, Nadkarni said.
“We think cloud-based big data is going to be increasing in size and eating into the market,” he said.
That will include a new category of cloud service: data. Data-as-a-Service will expand in 2013 where major datasets like weather, oil and gas information, genome data and customer lists will be sold to augment a company’s own data. Amazon already has a deal in place with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to repackage weather data, and other cloud companies are likely to follow suit.
Vesset said 2013 also will see venture capitalists focusing more on analytics and big data application companies and less on infrastructure and data management technologies.