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9 Trends to Watch in the Growing Big Data Market

Big data is big business—it’s just a question of how big. Enterprises can’t seem to pack enough big data and analytics solutions into their data centers, executive suites, and everywhere else across their organizations. Just about every venture-capital-cash-fueled startup from Silicon Valley to Boston has an analytics component to it. As these firms rapidly gain traction, they are being scarfed up by larger vendors looking to solidify their leadership of the analytics space.

Market size estimates vary, but they all range in the tens of billions. On the more conservative side, Wikibon, a collaborative analyst site, puts the size of the big data market this year at about $27 billion, likely to reach $50 billion by 2018, and top $61 billion in 2020—a compound annual growth rate of about 26%. IDC adds analytics tools, applications, and platforms to the big data equation to suggest even bigger numbers, estimating its current size at about $125 billion for this year.

For more articles on the state of big data, download the third edition of The Big Data Sourcebook, your guide to the enterprise and technology issues IT professionals are being asked to cope with in 2016 as business or organizational leadership increasingly defines strategies that leverage the "big data" phenomenon.

Whatever the market size really is, there’s no doubt that interest in big data continues at a fever pitch. There are many factors driving the big data market boom, and here are nine trends that define the state of the big data market in 2015, going into 2016:

1-Big Data Efforts Are Starting to Pay Off

A recent survey of 316 business leaders, sponsored by Teradata, finds “significant” returns on investment for big data analytics. Across all categories of investment, about 90% of organizations report medium to high levels of investment, and about one-third call their investments “very significant.” About two-thirds of respondents report that big data and analytics initiatives have had a material impact, and a significant, measurable impact on revenues. One out of five survey respondents (21%) agreed that big data analytics is the single most important path to competitive advantage, while 38% called it one of the top five contributors to their business’ success.

In addition, big data is opening up new avenues for businesses. In the Teradata survey, 54% of respondents believe potential opportunities for innovation include creating new business models.

2-Storage Requirements Continue to Explode

One of the less-mentioned fallouts of the big data revolution is its enormous impact on the storage market in recent years. IDC, which tracks such things, says revenue for storage hardware used for big data deployment—which consists of hardware platforms and systems—is estimated to grow at a rate of about 20% between 2014 and 2019, reaching $9 billion in 2019—and more than 73 exabytes in total capacity. Revenue for storage software used for big data deployments—which is the aggregate of all storage software functional markets—is estimated to grow 27% a year, reaching close to $4 billion by 2019. Revenue for big data-related storage services will grow at a rate of 30% during this period, largely driven by a skills shortage in many enterprise IT organizations, IDC adds.

3-Technology Vendors Have Been on a Buying Spree

There have been a number of high-profile acquisitions during the past 2 years. In what was widely touted as the biggest tech deal in history, Dell and EMC announced in October that they had signed a definitive agreement for Dell to acquire EMC for $67 billion, bringing together strong capabilities in some of the fastest-growing areas of the industry, including digital transformation, software-defined data center, hybrid cloud, converged infrastructure, mobile, and security. Cloudera also acquired Datapad, which provides a data visualization platform; and Teradata acquired Think Big Analytics, a big data consulting firm, along with Revelytix, a provider of Hadoop-based data integration software, and Hadapt, which provides SQL-on-Hadoop development capabilities. In addition, TIBCO bought JasperSoft, a BI tools vendor. IBM bought Cloudant, a distributed database as a service vendor; Silverpop Systems, which provides a behavioral marketing automation solu­tion; AlchemyAPI, which supports natural language processing; Explorys, a healthcare analytics vendor; and Compose, Inc., another database as a service company. Not to be outdone, Oracle acquired Maxymiser, which provides web personalization tools, and Dat­alogix, a data broker and digital marketing vendor. Microsoft has also been on the big data train, acquiring Equivio, a text analytics service; Datazen Software, which provides mobile business intelligence and data visual­ization solutions; and VoloMetrix, an organi­zational analytics vendor.

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