This year will be the year of larger scale adoption of big data technologies, according to analyst Gartner.
The analyst house recently conducted a global survey of firms and found that 42 percent of respondents had invested in big data technology, or were planning to do so within a year.
"Organisations have increased their understanding of what big data is and how it could transform the business in novel ways. The new key questions have shifted to 'What are the strategies and skills required?' and 'How can we measure and ensure our return on investment?'" said Gartner analyst Doug Laney.
Laney added: "Most organisations are still in the early stages, and few have thought through an enterprise approach or realised the profound impact that big data will have on their infrastructure, organisations and industries."
Gartner said organisations are becoming aware that big data initiatives are critical because they have identified obvious or potential business opportunities that cannot be met with traditional data sources, technologies or practices.
Gartner predicts that by 2015, 20 percent of Global 1000 organisations will have established a strategic focus on "information infrastructure" equal to that of application management.
In anticipation of big data opportunities, said Gartner, organisations across industries are provisionally collecting and storing a burgeoning amount of operational, public, commercial and social data. In most industries combining these sources with existing underutilised "dark data", such as emails, multimedia and other enterprise content, represents the most immediate opportunity to transform businesses.
Laney said: "Businesses are increasingly managing and deploying information more effectively than ever, but certainly not with the well-honed asset management discipline applied to their traditional material, financial or other intangible assets.
"The application of formal information valuation models will allow IT, information management and business leaders to make better-informed decisions on information management (IM), enrichment, security, risks, purchasing, collection, usage, bartering, productisation and disposal."