Hold on to your big data experts: Gartner

Big data will be a big headache soon for IT departments, but not in the way you might think.

A Canadian-based Gartner executive told a Toronto audience Wednesday that demand for specialists who can handle analytic tools that process huge amounts of structured or unstructured data will leap in the next two years, and they’d better be ready.

Hung LeHong, a research vice-president who helps senior corporate executives and CIOs set IT strategy, (pictured) said that by 2015 big data will create a need for 4.4 million jobs around the world

But, he added, only one-third of those jobs will be filled because the expertise is hard to come by.

As result, he warned, if you have staff now in your organization hold on to them.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in big data,” LeHong said, not only for processing Web site tweets and online purchases, but also data generated from Internet-connected machine-to-machine communications and voice calls to call centres.

Not only will people with expertise in distributed computing and storage, Hadoop, NoSQL databases, complex event processing and the like be needed, he said, business analysts as well who understand the possibilities of big data will be in demand.

The session was one of a number behind held largely for Gartner customers across North America to expand on the research company’s 2013 predictions.

Other predictions include:

Here comes mobile malware: Thanks to bring-you-own-device policies, be prepared for staff-owned mobile devices to be compromised with malware at more than twice the rate of corporate-owned devices.

This should be no surprise: Generally, staff aren’t as knowledgeable as IT pros at keeping malware at bay.

One solution Gartner recommends is organizations follow the lead of universities, which have to face the issue as their WiFi networks expand: Restrict access only to safe mobile devices. That may mean excluding low-end Android devices, whose security is questionable compared to higher-end models, LeHong said.

In fact, he added, it’s not uncommon for organizations to forbid staff from connecting to the corporate network with any Android device.

Gartner recommends that at least one-third of the money saved by BYOD should be re-invested in security initiatives to protect the corporate network.

Company personnel data will leak onto Facebook: By 2017, 40 per cent of enterprise contact information will be in the wild. Why? Because staff will – wittingly or unwittingly – will let their smart phone contact list be transferred to Facebook. It can be done at the press of a button.

Then wave bye-bye to partner and sales information.

Facebook can be locked down, so make sure staff to check and understand Facebook’s privacy controls.

Otherwise, note that at present there is no simple capability in mobile device management software to prevent this, LeHong said, so organizations that care should have written corporate policies forbidding transferring contacts to social media and other collaborative sites. 

Playing games: By 2015, 40 per cent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification – rewarding staff with points for suggesting improvements – as the primary method of transforming business operations.

If you do go this route, LeHong advised, make sure your corporate culture will embrace it.

Know your service provider: Mergers and acquisitions are coming in the SP market. By 2014, 20 per cent of the top 100 service providers will merge or be bought.

Partly that’s due to an increase in commoditized solutions, LeHong said, which will cut into the outsourcing market. But he said it will also be due to service providers making wrong bets on solutions organizations are looking for in mobile, cloud, social media and big data technologies.

His advice: Get close to your service providers. Talk to them every six months about their strategies to determine if they align with those of your organization. 

Wave at Win8: Ninety-per cent (yes, 90) of enterprises will decide against broad deployment of Windows 8.

They will be trying it out on tablets and some desktops, but the new interface is causing IT managers to hold off.

Who’s poaching your staff?: By next year companies with head offices in Asia – including service providers — will do much of the IT hiring in Western countries.

That’s due to a number of factors: These companies plan to expand aggressively into North America and Western Europe in the next two years and will be looking for top talent. At the same time, there will be corporate IT layoffs as organizations move IT services that can be commoditized will be moved to the cloud.

Go East, young man: Things are getting so tight economically in the European Union that EU directives will push member countries to pass job protection legislation.

That will reduce the potential for other countries to take outsourcing work by 20 per cent. If your company has an EU presence, think about increasing it to ensure there’s a strong base.

Watch those licences: Almost everything is going to connect to the Internet. Aside from creating big data to wade through, it may also mean IT will face increasing software licence fees. Through 2014 spending on what Gartner calls “smart operational technology” will jump 25 per cent. If this is a problem, grab your vendor. 

You are what you wear: Wearable smart electronics – embedded into everything from running shoes to tattoos – will be so popular they’ll pull in US$10 billion a year in revenue by 2016, up from $4 billion today.

So CIOs and IT managers should look at how these devices could benefit their organizations. For example, for years wireless headphone technology has helped warehouse workers find products, letting them keep their hands free.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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