Two new surveys about big-data show businesses are bullish about it -- even though it's a challenge to define and manage it. The surveys, released last week by the open-source BI vendor Jaspersoft and the big-data vendor RainStor, echo the ongoing theme of big-data as big business.
In Jaspersoft's survey, 62 percent of respondents said they have either deployed a big-data solution or plan to do so in the next year. Among those with no deployment plans, 35 percent cited a lack of understanding of big-data as the main barrier.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming 75 percent of the RainStor survey participants said big-data helps their organization make better business decisions.
Jaspersoft surveyed more than 600 of its users to find out how enterprises are using big-data in corporate decision making. RainStor's global survey had a much smaller sample: 50 senior-level executives from industries such as financial services, communications, and manufacturing.
There is obviously a lot of enthusiasm about big-data. John Bantleman, the CEO of RainStor, said in a press release, "There has never been a time before where the industry has seen such innovation covering everything from open source Apache Hadoop and MapReduce to newly architected database technologies -- all directly addressing the requirement to better manage and harness Big Data at low cost."
And companies are using big-data in numerous ways. Jaspersoft identified the five most commonly cited uses:
- Customer experience analytics (48 percent)
- Customer analytics -- churn, segmentation (37 percent)
- Marketing campaign optimization (28 percent)
- Financial risk analysis (27 percent)
- Marketing competitive analysis (27 percent)
But as Andrew Brust wrote in a post on ZDNet, despite the enthusiasm around big-data, "the hopes are ahead of real adoption and readiness. Organizations believe they can gain big advantage and competitive edge from Big Data, but they haven't seen it, at least not to the degree they think is possible."
In the RainStor survey, 37 percent of respondents said they are concerned about the speed of data creation (velocity), the increase in types of data (variety), and the ability to provide analytics against data.
Then there's the other issue: How do we define big-data? Sixty percent of the Jaspersoft survey respondents said they are using relational databases as their primary big-data store, with Hadoop and MongoDB each attracting 18 percent of the vote. The RainStor survey claimed Hadoop is appealing for many respondents. RainStor did not say how many organizations are using Hadoop, but it did say, "just over half of those looking at Hadoop want to augment their existing data warehouse infrastructure."
What do you think? Are these surveys adding anything to our data on big-data? Or are they simply repeating what we already know -- that big-data has huge untapped potential that businesses (out of fear, confusion, uncertainty, or a combination of the three) have yet to embrace with gusto?