Businesses are eager to spend money on big data, but few have a clear cut plan for what they plan to do with the technology, according to a new Gartner report. 64% of organizations surveyed have already purchased or are planning to invest in big data solutions in 2013, compared with 58% in 2012. Of that 64%, 30% have already invested in big data tech, 19% plan to invest within the next year and another 15% plan to invest within two years. Less than 8% of Gartner's 720 respondents, however, have actually deployed big data technology. Big data is expected to drive $34 billion of IT spending in 2013, but though organizations are intrigued by the promises of big data solutions, most are still trying to figure out how the technology fits into their strategy. "For big data, 2013 is the year of experimentation and early deployment. Adoption is still at the early stages with less than 8% of all respondents indicating their organization has deployed big data solutions. 20% are piloting and experimenting, 18% are developing a strategy, 19% are knowledge gathering, while the remainder have no plans or don't know," said Gartner research vice president Frank Buytendijk in a statement. Though many organizations are still unclear about which big data solutions they will invest in or how much they will spend, Gartner spotted trends in how they plan to use the technology. 49% want to increase their company's efficiency by using big data to reduce costs or identify risks earlier, while 55% hope it will help them improve customer service. 42% of organizations want to develop new products and business models using insight gleaned from big data, while 23% want to monetize information directly. Every vertical industry surveyed by Gartner had companies that are planning to or have already invested in big data solutions. Media and communications, banking, and services firms are the most enthusiastic big data adopters. 39% of media and communication organizations surveyed said they have already invested in big data, followed by 34% of banking organizations and 32% of services firms. The industries with the most planned investments over the next two years are transportation, with 50% planning to invest in big data technology, followed by healthcare at 41% and insurance companies at 40%. Most of these organizations are located in North America, where 38% of organizations surveyed said they had already invested in big data technology. 45% of organizations surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region said they plan to invest. While most organizations are laying out their big data investment strategy, 15% of Gartner's respondents are still trying to figure out what big data actually means, which is not shocking considering how broad and complex the term is. "Perhaps unsurprisingly, this concern came mainly from respondents with no plans to invest. Organizations should be sure they are educated about big data opportunities in their industry to ensure they are not missing the boat," said Gartner research director Nick Huedecker in a statement.
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