Investment in Big Data will grow to nearly $10 billion in 2013, according to a new report from IDC. More and more of that funding will apparently divert to development of analytics and discovery tools, with predictive analytics “a particular hot spot in the months to come.” That could come as a relief to smaller IT vendors working on the Next Big Analytics Software Platform, as well as any venture capitalists pouring money into those endeavors. It could also hearten those big tech behemoths, including IBM, which have spent the past several quarters integrating ever-deeper layers of analytics into their business-software offerings. IDC’s report, which makes several sweeping predictions for the state of tech in 2013, also suggests that businesses will dump more than $65 billion into industry-specific solutions over the next year. “This figure will grow to nearly $100 billion in the next three years as businesses use these technologies and solutions to create new products and services,” reads a note prefacing the report, “and redefine existing customer relationships.” Mobile devices and an increased use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are other trends that IDC sees taking hold among businesses over the next twelve months. “Here, converged systems (combining server, storage and network systems together with the software to manage them) and software-defined networking will transition from market hype to market reality,” the note added, “with enterprise datacenter and cloud-provider user cases coming to market and getting deployed.” Thanks to the increased reliance of mobility and cloud-based software, IDC believes that various datacenter technologies currently under development—and designed in large part to serve those needs—will gain 30-35 percent penetration of the data-center market by 2016. Other research firms, including Gartner, have also published reports concluding that analytics and cloud-based software are indeed gaining more traction among businesses. Roughly 73 percent of U.S. respondents to a recent Gartner survey, for example, indicated an intention to spend more on SaaS in coming years. A November report from IDC concluded that CRM, collaboration and virtualization platforms were all helping drive software sales, although it also expected that market to level off somewhat in coming years. Businesses’ increased interest in analytics and cloud-based software, in turn, has led any number of experts to propose best practices for integrating those platforms into corporate infrastructure. The trend could also spark a need for more data analysts and scientists.   Image: alphaspirit/