Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Making the Business Case For Big Data

Big data to drive $28B in IT spend

Big data is an industry-wide market force impacting several IT categories in 2012 and years to come, with such offerings becoming the new norm rather than a novelty, according to Gartner.

Big data this year will account for US$28 billion of IT spending worldwide, which will increase to US$34 billion in 2013, according to Gartner.

In a report released Wednesday, the market research firm said much of 2012 expenditure will be in adapting traditional tools to address issues related to the big data phenomenon such as machine data, social data, and the large variety and velocity of data. In contrast, only US$4.3 billion will be focused on new big data functionalities.

Specifically, social network and content analysis had the most impact on big data budgets, and projected to account for 45 percent of new IT spending each year, Gartner said. Application infrastructure and middleware would account for 10 percent of yearly spend.

Big data is not a distinct, standalone market, said Mark Beyer, research vice president at Gartner. Rather it represents an industry-wide market force addressed in products, practices and solution delivery, he explained.

In 2011, big data was the new driver in almost every category of IT spending. Through to 2018, however, big data requirements will gradually evolve from being a differentiator to "table stakes" in information management, Beyer said.

Elaborating, he said by 2020 big data features and functionalities will be non-differentiating and routinely expected from traditional enterprise vendors as part of their product offerings.

By the end of 2015, Gartner said it expects leading organizations to begin using their big data knowledge in "an almost embedded form in their architectures and practices". And around the start of 2018, the distinction--and advantage--new big data products had over traditional offerings that provide additional functions to handle big data, will decrease.

Skills, tools and practices leading companies acquired over the years to handle big data would eventually become routine flexibility, it added.

Beyer said: "Because big data's effects are pervasive, big data will evolve to become a standardized requirement in leading information architectural practices, forcing older practices and technologies into early obsolescence."

In other words, big data will end up as "just data" once again by 2020, and approaches toward architecture, infrastructure, hardware, and software that do not adapt to this "new normal" will be retired, he said.

"Organizations resisting this change will suffer severe economic impacts," the analyst cautioned.