It’s one of those technologies that seem to divide opinion, but Big Data is beginning to make a real impact on the enterprise. Despite some experts saying that it’s nothing more than hype, new figures from Gartner suggest that CIOs and IT decision makers are thinking very seriously about Big Data, how they can use it and what advantages it could generate for their business. 

The study from Gartner revealed that 64% of businesses around the world are investing in Big Data technology in 2013 or are planning to do so. That’s a rise from 58% in 2012. The report also shows that 30% of businesses have already invested, while 19% say they plan to do so over the next 12 months and a further 15% say they plan to invest over the next two years.

This shows that businesses are embracing Big Data to enhance their decision making. There is a huge amount of insight into a business, its workers and its customers just waiting to be discovered via capturing, storing and then analysing the huge volume of data that is being created these days. 

But what we at F5 have noticed is that sometimes Big Data projects can fail because the underlying architecture isn’t able to cope with all the data and the different devices attached to the network that want to access that data. Businesses must also have in place infrastructure that can scale as data and demand increases.

The key to a successful Big Data project is enabling secure access to the data when it’s needed. When I say secure what I mean is that workers are only allowed to access certain applications; the ones they need to do their job. Controlling access to the data reduces potential security risks. 

To get the best out of Big Data it is also vital that it is able to travel around your network freely whenever it’s needed.

That’s a key point: getting the best decisions out of your data requires immediacy; making instant decisions and putting them into action is what can give a business the edge in this increasingly competitive world we operate in. It’s no use if the relevant data cannot be accessed at the time it’s needed, or if the network is so saturated that it takes too long to get where it needs to be. If the moment passes, so does the opportunity. 

This is what I mean when I talk about having the right infrastructure in place to enable Big Data... access, security and an intelligent network that can always guarantee that data can move around freely.