Big Data, or the use of software tools to analyze massive amounts of data, is increasingly in use by organizations large and small. However, a new survey by Jaspersoft finds that confusion over the term “Big Data” is impeding adoption of data-analytics and business intelligence tools. Jaspersoft surveyed some 600 community members about their use of Big Data in enterprise decision-making. Some 62 percent said they either deployed a Big Data solution for their organization or planned on doing so within the next year. The most popular uses of Big Data, in descending order, were customer experience analytics, customer analytics (churn and segmentation), marketing campaign optimization, financial risk analysis, and marketing competitive analysis. Moreover, some 40 percent are deploying their massive data operation in the cloud as opposed to on-premises, and 44 percent said real-time capability was a necessity. Roughly 68 percent relied on machine-generated content (such as sensor data) as the primary feed for their Big Data project, as opposed to human-generated content such as social-networking data. The widespread use of sensor data, cloud platforms, and software capable of real-time analysis suggests that the data-analytics industry is undergoing a rapid evolution. “We were even surprised to see how quickly the Big Data market is maturing, based on implementation plans of our community members,” Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft, wrote in an Aug. 14 statement. “From the variety of industries using Big Data to the different use cases identified, it’s clear that Big Data adoption is gaining momentum alongside cloud deployment.” But many organizations still lack any sort of data-analytics platform or plan; of those, 35 percent said they simply didn’t have enough knowledge of Big Data platforms to implement one. This isn’t the first survey to suggest organizations are confused or lack knowledge of Big Data. In June, an SAP survey featured C-suite executives defining “Big Data” in radically different ways—either as the tools meant to handle massive amounts of data, the flood of data itself, data storage, or an increase in data sources. Another survey by TheInfoPro, a service of 451 Research, found that—definitions or no—some 56 percent of professionals and business decision-makers had no plans to implement any sort of Big Data platform within the next year or so. However one defines Big Data, and whatever tools one chooses to analyze data coming in-house, it’s indisputable that businesses have more data to handle: still another survey, this one from Oracle, found that 94 percent of organizations collected and managed more data today than two years ago, even as a full third of respondents rated their organizations’ data preparedness either a “D” or an “F.”   Image: Khakimullin Aleksandr/