While Big Data has been a much-hyped technology for some time, many companies are just now getting ready to begin their projects. Is IT ready for the challenge?
Despite the hype, some research over the past year and more have shown that most businesses weren’t ready to start using Big Data.
A survey released last August by market research firm TheInfoPro found that the majority of organizations (56%) had no future plans to invest in Big Data analytics. Almost a quarter (24%) had already had systems in place, while 5% planned to implement Big Data at the end of 2012, while 16% planned to do so in 2013.
But now, things are starting to pick up, according to a recent Gartner survey. Close to two-thirds (64%) of companies expect to have at least started planning a Big Data implementation by the end of this year. Among the 270 organizations polled:
- 20% are experimenting and starting pilot projects
- 19% are gathering knowledge
- 18% are developing a strategy, and
- 8% already have a Big Data program in place.
Hard to find Big Data experts
As companies develop their Big Data strategies, they’re likely to run into a number of challenges. One of the big ones: staffing.
IT pros with Big Data expertise are tough to find, according to a recent survey from TEKsystems. The majority (81%) of IT managers agree there’s a shortage of workers with those skills and experience now.
Even companies that have those people on staff may not for long, as 56% of IT managers said it’s difficult to retain analytics pros because of the high demand for their skills.
The best solution, according to most of the 1,500 IT leaders surveyed: Develop staff internally. That means choosing the right people currently on staff or hiring them from outside and offering training to help them become Big Data experts.
The key is finding the people who are most suited for that kind of work. According to survey respondents, the best candidates are those that have both technical expertise– including SQL, PHP and other programming skills — and business aptitude, along with being skilled at math and statistics.
IT managers also stressed the need for people good at work in teams, since Big Data projects require collaboration among many different parts of the business.