Albert Einstein is widely credited with this saying, although it is nowhere to be found in any of his published works or recorded interviews. Fortunately, a published interview does exist with John A. Wheeler, another theoretical physicist who taught with Einstein at Princeton in the early 1950s. Wheeler told the interviewer that “[Einstein’s] work revolved around three rules which apply to all science, our problems, and times: 1. Out of clutter, find simplicity; 2. From discord make harmony; and finally 3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Einstein’s three rules apply as well to the challenges that accompany Big Data and analytics (BDA) as to the astrophysical mysteries of relativity and quantum mechanics. Obviously, current enterprises are cluttered with multiple data stores in multiple silos, and with individuals who routinely generate their own spreadsheets and reports. Even if everyone starts with the same data, and they often do not, discord is bound to arise due to varying assumptions, interpretations and recommendations. Meanwhile the market is cluttered with BDA solutions from more than vendors. Most of these products are badly in need of simplification; and getting them to harmoniously integrate with existing IT systems is another challenge. As to opportunity in the midst of difficulty, however, vendors and enterprise customers alike see the broad outlines of profitable potential in BDA, even though achieving practical, quantifiable, and predictable results is proving difficult.
Granted that Big Data technologies and analytic software are still relatively new, having been on the enterprise radar less than a decade, and while BDA is certainly complex, it is not rocket science. Yet, mainstream enterprises seem to be about as perplexed by the intricacies that accompany BDA applications as they are by the scientific implications of relativity and quantum mechanics. Moreover, the mostly ad hoc approach that enterprises are taking to the deployment of BDA solutions suggests they are still experimenting and finding their way. Stratecast identified these and other high-level BDA deployment trends earlier this year in a report of the initial findings from Stratecast’s 2014 Big Data and Analytics Market Survey.
Nevertheless, expectations regarding the ultimate impact of BDA are very broad and very high, not only among pundits and prognosticators who traffic in technological hype, or among the analytically astute and well-funded organizations that have already demonstrated successful BDA deployments. In fact, nearly all ( %) of the Stratecast survey respondents believe that, within 10 years, Big Data and analytics will become as ubiquitous and useful as the personal computer or the Internet; and more than half ( %) of respondents have already deployed one or more BDA solutions. Stratecast reports also have stressed this ten-year countdown to relative ubiquity, while predicting a fairly conservative % CAGR for the BDA market through 2017. This report dives deeper into the survey findings, which suggest that widespread adoption of BDA could take much longer, if vendors and customers remain on their current trajectory. Most customers are not satisfied enough with their current BDA deployments to accelerate further adoption, although they are not so disappointed as to terminate projects in process.
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Survey Results Signal Slow Growth for Big Data and Analytics