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12/23/2013
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Big Data In 2014: 6 Bold Predictions

'Tis the season when temperatures tumble, shoppers stumble, and prognosticators fumble, often. Will these big data prophecies come true?



How will big data evolve in 2014? The future is anyone's guess, of course, but we thought we'd compile a tasty holiday assortment of prognostications from executives working in the big data trenches. So without further delay, here they are -- six big data predictions for next year:

1. "More Hadoop projects will fail than succeed."
That scary assessment is from Gary Nakamura, CEO of Concurrent, a big data application platform company. In a December 12 blog post, Nakamura made a few 2014 forecasts, including this not-so-rosy assessment of Hadoop:

"More Hadoop projects will be swept under the rug as businesses devote major resources to their big data projects before doing their due diligence, which results in a costly, disillusioning project failure. We may not hear about most of the failures, of course, but the successes will clearly demonstrate the importance of using the right tools. The right big data toolkit will enable organizations to easily carry forward the success of these projects, as well as further insert their value into their business processes for market advantage."

[Who are next year's rising stars in business intelligence? Read 2014 BI Outlook: Who's Hot, Who's Not.]

2. Enterprises will focus less on big data and more on stepping up their data management game.
"There's no doubt that companies' pursuits of big data initiatives have the best intentions to improve operational decision making across the enterprise. That being said, companies shouldn't get stuck on the term 'big data.' The true initiative and what they ultimately need to be concerned with is how they're implementing better data management practices that account for the variety and complexity of the data being acquired for analysis," Scott Schlesinger, a senior vice president for consulting and outsourcing giant Capgemini, told InformationWeek via email.

3. The pace of big data innovation in the open-source community will accelerate in 2014.
"New open-source projects like Hadoop 2.0 and YARN, as the next-generation Hadoop resource manager, will make the Hadoop infrastructure more interactive. New open-source projects like STORM, a streaming communications protocol, will enable more real-time, on-demand blending of information in the big data ecosystem," wrote Quentin Gallivan, CEO of business analytics software firm Pentaho, in a December 5 blog post.

4. The need for automated tools will become increasingly critical.
"It seems that the more data we have, the more we want," John Joseph, VP of product marketing for analytics software firm Lavastorm Analytics told InformationWeek via email. "But as data volumes increase, the need for pattern matching, simulation, and predictive analytics technologies become more crucial. Engines that can automatically sift through the growing mass of data, identify issues or opportunities, and even take automated action to capitalize on those findings will be a necessity."

5. Beware, Oracle! 2014 will be the year of SQL on Hadoop.
"I think you'll see people start building interactive applications on the Hadoop infrastructure. And what I mean by that -- and I think this is probably the most controversial thing -- is that people will start replacing their first-generation relational databases with SQL on Hadoop," said Monte Zweben, CEO of SQL-on-Hadoop database startup Splice Machine, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

6. Big data flies to the cloud.
"Big data has gained a lot of traction in 2013 but complex technologies are keeping many businesses from getting their solutions into production and generating a positive ROI. In 2014, businesses will look beyond the hype and turn to cloud solutions that generate fast time to value and do not require highly specialized dedicated skill sets, like Hadoop, to manage. 2014 will be the year that big data moves from buzzword to business imperative," said Sandy Steier, cofounder and CEO of cloud-based analytics firm 1010data, via email.

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, the Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek.

IT groups need data analytics software that's visual and accessible. Vendors are getting the message. Also in the State Of Analytics issue of InformationWeek: SAP CEO envisions a younger, greener, cloudier company. (Free registration required.)

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