Jun 24 2013

Expect Big Data to Reach Critical Mass Very Soon

Almost a quarter of IT leaders are digging into Big Data, and the rest will soon follow suit.

Federal IT executives estimate that Big Data could unlock more than $500 billion in savings. Additionally, 70 percent of those executives believe that by the end of 2013, Big Data will be critical to fulfilling mission objectives.

This data comes from a recent MeriTalk survey taken by 150 federal IT executives. Here’s a look at other key takeaways.

The Bleeding Edge Is Becoming the Cutting Edge

Big Data Initiative

There is a lot of talk about how Big Data could help the federal government, but until now, there hasn’t been much concrete evidence, based on the limited sample size within agencies. According to MeriTalk, nearly one-fourth of the survey respondents have launched a Big Data initiative to do everything from manage internal records to interpret radio signals.

Now that Big Data has its foot in the door, more agencies will begin to see the value. As always, budget is a concern, but the potential savings are impossible to ignore. It will be interesting to hear about the experiences generated by these early programs. If the results are positive, and the agencies are willing to provide details about hardware, software and best practices, Big Data can become mainstream very quickly.

Big Data Will Help . . . But How?

Big Data Federal Missions

There are two goals in the back of every federal IT executive’s mind these days: Complete the mission and do more with less. Big Data will help agencies achieve both, and survey respondents indicated a few specific areas of opportunity. “Improving processes and efficiency” was the most popular response, in part because of the enormous size of most agencies’ infrastructures. Performance metrics will provide insight into legacy hardware and software as well as dated procedures.

Security is another opportunity where Big Data could be beneficial. According to Art Gilliland, HP’s senior vice president and general manager of enterprise security products, “In security, we've been doing big data for a very long time. We just didn't have the new tools.” As the demand for Big Data tools increases, the costs will decrease, and more agencies will get access to the tools they need.

Who Benefits First and Who Benefits Most?

Big Data's Role in the Government

It’s true that every agency could benefit from the analysis of Big Data, but some agencies stand to gain more of an advantage than others. According to this survey’s respondents, security agencies and the military could be the ones to leverage Big Data to the highest degree. When lives are on the line, the speed of modern technology is critical. These agencies could find that their missions are more quickly accomplished with the addition of data-analysis tools.

Download the full report from MeriTalk.