Big Data In The Enterprise: 7 Shocking Truths

Stats Behind The Big Data Buzz

There's no arguing that big data has become the talk of the tech world in 2013. But Cisco wanted to put some numbers around just how widespread -- and perhaps how legitimate -- all this big data buzz really is. To that end, the networking giant compiled a report, "The Potential and Challenge of Big Data."

Released in late March, the report reveals some pretty staggering statistics related to the proliferation of unstructured data and how it's shaking up today's IT landscape. The study compiles survey results from 1,800 IT professionals across 18 countries related to their big data strategies, budgets and challenges in 2013 and the years to come. Here's a look at the highlights.

Also, check out the rest of our special report on big data and the channel, available exclusively on the CRN Tech News App.

1. Big Data Is A Strategic Priority For The Majority

Organizations expect to invest much of their time -- and their money -- on big data initiatives over the next few years, according to Cisco's report. Roughly 60 percent of IT managers believe big data will increase their companies' global competitiveness, while 68 percent identified big data as a strategic priority for their companies in 2013 and over the course of the next five years.

Big data initiatives are having a positive impact on corporate IT budgets, the survey indicated: Sixty percent of respondents said they expect their IT budgets to increase in 2013.

2. Businesses Struggle To Define Big Data Strategies

Big data may be dominating much of the IT conversation in enterprises worldwide, but the results of those conversations aren't always successful. When asked if the big data discussions at their companies result in strategic plans or solutions, 44 percent said yes, 39 percent said they are still evaluating, and 21 percent said those discussions only resulted in confusion or uncertainty.

3. Big Data Leads To Big IT Challenges

If Cisco's study made one thing clear, it's that big data represents just as a big a technical challenge for organizations as it does an opportunity for competitive advantage.

Approximately 27 percent of respondents said big data opens up security and risk management challenges, while 16 percent said they lack the budget to implement a big data strategy at all. What's more, 14 percent of survey participants said they lack the time to properly study big data, and 13 percent said they lack the IT staff to kick-start a big data initiative.

4. Big Data Does A Number On Networks

Big data, along with other technologies such as mobility and video, is expected to have a major impact on organizations' networks and infrastructures moving forward. Of those who took the survey, 48 percent said network loads are expected to double and 23 percent said they're expected to triple over the next two years.

Meanwhile, only 41 percent said their networks are ready -- from a bandwidth or security standpoint -- to handle this spike.

5. The Cloud And Big Data Go Hand In Hand

Big data is driving big-time adoption of the cloud, according to Cisco's report. A whopping 81 percent of survey respondents said cloud computing will be necessary for all, or at least some, of their big data-related IT projects.

6. Business Intelligence Isn't Always Intelligent

Business intelligence and analytics is what ultimately drives the value behind big data. But not all organizations feel that value is being realized.

More than 85 percent of respondents said they analyze their data in some way today, but only 28 percent said they feel they are getting strategic value from those initiatives. Another 38 percent of survey takers admitted that they need a more strategic plan when it comes to data analytics.

7. The Internet Of Things Is Here

The Internet of Things -- or the phenomenon through which objects are beginning to communicate with one another through embedded wireless sensors -- may seem like something out of a science fiction novel but, according to Cisco's survey, more organizations may be looking to embrace the trend than we think. A substantial amount of survey respondents -- about 73 percent -- said they expect their big data strategy to include data from digital sensors, meters, cars and other "smart devices."