Big data, or unstructured data, needs to be mastered, managed and secured, and IT leaders are still learning how to do it. This provides an opportunity for solution providers to exploit analytics and insight to drive businesses forward. "When asked which of the five trends we will still be talking about down the road in five years, I inevitably come back to big data and analytics because it will have a more profound effect on businesses' success as we move into an age where competitive advantage is gained and lost in minutes and hours, not months and years," said Alexander.
Info-Tech recently moderated a panel with the CIO of Wal-Mart Canada and the conversation turned to competition and whom Wal-Mart saw as its biggest competitor -- Amazon. "Amazon is the world's pre-eminent dominant retailer of the last century, Wal-Mart, is most worried about a company with no bricks-and-mortar presence whatsoever because of its use of big data," said Alexander.