Big Data, Big Hype

According to a recent survey of CIOs and enterprise channels, Big Data is the most over-hyped technology in India in 2016.

The mention of ‘Big Data’ evokes varied emotions from different people in the IT industry.

Analysts and technology OEMs are absolutely gung ho about the technology becoming mainstream in 2016. And most product pitches of almost every OEM revolves around analytics, data analytics or the broader and newer jargon – Big Data.

The over-hype (and hype) around Big Data has been in force globally since 2014. And the India story is no different.

But has the technology got onto the skates or is it still attempting to run faster than the actual adoption rate?

ChannelWorld State of The Market 2016 Survey conducted in November and December of 2015 with the sellers of enterprise IT (mainly tier-2 channel partners) sprung an interesting insight: Asked on what they perceive as the most overhyped technology for 2016, 47 percent of the survey respondents said ‘Big Data’.  IoT and BYOD were next in line.

Around the same time period, ChannelWorld’s sister publication CIO India conducted State of the CIO 2016 Survey (annual survey with CIOs of Indian Inc). And guess how many of the respondents put Big Data in the question about overhype category for 2016? Almost 54 percent.

Also read: Big data in India in 2016: The ice thaws, a little

You have nearly half of the sellers (enterprise channels) and more than half of buyers (enterprise CIOs) in two independent surveys point to a common thread of Big Data being the most over hyped technology for 2016 in India.

You have nearly half of the sellers (enterprise channels) and more than half of buyers (enterprise CIOs) in two independent surveys point to a common thread of Big Data being the most over hyped technology for 2016 in India.

Technology vendors might argue with projected sales numbers, random use cases, robust pipeline, pending POCs.

Analysts would love to stick to their impressive market size and growth predictions for Big Data. One of the stats as per IDC puts the market for big data technology and services growth at 23 percent CAGR over four years, with annual spending predicted to reach $48.6 billion in 2019.

But the proof is in the pudding, as they say--almost half of surveyed CIOs do not have Big Data on their radar until the end of 2016. And the survey demographics covered 246 CIOs of major verticals like BFSI, IT/ITes, manufacturing, healthcare, services and others across the broad spectrum of  mid-market to large to very large enterprises.

Only 10 percent of CIOs completed Big Data in 2015 as per the survey. Around 39 percent expected to complete projects around big data in calendar year 2016. That’s encouraging news from a business perspective for tech OEMs and their channel ecosystem.

Also Read: Indian CIOs survey: What it takes to be a CIO in 2016

Wherein lies the disconnect between the optimism of tech OEMs and the pessimism of sellers (enterprise channels) and buyers (CIOs, CDOs, CXOs) for Big Data this year? Here are a few pointers that cross the mind in a flash:

  • Multi Play:  Big Data is a long journey for end user organizations spread over application layer, software layer and infra layer. It calls for more hand holding of OEMs to channels and CIOs’ teams.
  • More Confusion: The unknown market size (expected to become huge) and varied connotations of Big Data by various tech OEMs often confuses the channels, CIOs and others in the ecosystem.
  • Expensive Skillsets: Lesser availability of niche big data skillsets is often an expensive resource investment than run-rate domains like software and networking for the CIO's teams.
  • Spread: Big Data makes sense not only for bigger enterprises but also for SMBs with large amounts of data. "Big Data is only for big enterprises," is one of the industry’s big myths.

Does overhype become a big dampener for technology providers and their enterprise channels? Certainly not.

Organizations on the big data journey--or ones planning to go on one--would surely expect business benefits like enhanced productivity, competitive advantage, etcetera.

Its horses for courses for each company while traversing the technology curve. Enterprises that are geographically spread out may take a few months or years before the cycle rolls over from ‘over hype to hype to mainstream’ for new technologies like Big Data.

But the stakeholders of the tech industry, I assume, would inhale technology jargons, ride hype cycles and exhale business ideas that help companies benefit from IT. And Big Data belongs right there.

Be prepared with your army of domain experts because Big Data will come up to speed sooner than you think.

You definelty do not want to miss the Big Bus of Big Data.