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“Selfie” may have been named Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, but the term big data is in the running for most overused corporate buzzword of 2013, according to a financial data and software company.

As the end of 2013 nears, FactSet Research Systems Inc. of Norwalk, Conn., has found that the term big data has invaded a lot of corporate conversations and presentations this year.

FactSet, which searched through transcripts of more than 5,000 companies in its database found that executives, managers and employees, mentioned big data during 841 conference calls and investor presentations in 2013.

That number corresponds to a 43 per cent increase from last year’s mentions of big data.

The word cloud still figured in 1,356 calls and presentations, but that represents a mere 2 per cent growth from 2012 numbers.

Mobile and mobility each received 5,000 mentions, but that represents  -1 per cent and -7 per cent growths respectively from last year’s figures.

Cloud computing, is clearly out of fashion, according to online news site Quartz. Corporate use of the term went down 37 per cent.

Big data is often misused to mean “the kind of data analysis that could be done on a single desktop computer” but the term really should be reserved for applications “requiring serious processing power,” according to Quartz.

There’s a lot of hype over big data as well.

“The reason we’re all talking about big data is because some analyst made all the money they could off of cloud, and they had to move on to the next buzzword,” Jim Goodnight, CEO of analytics software company SAS Institute was quoted as saying in the firm’s annual executive forum in April this year. “It was data warehousing, and then software-as-a-service, and then cloud computing, and everyone put their money into cloud startups until it was time to change the topic.”

Of course he may not bee too unhappy about all the hype over big data.

While many enterprise firms are just beginning to roll out their big data analytics projects, there are also some talks that the term’s buzzword status may be waning.

For example, as early as February this year, data centre news site conducted a poll wherein more than half of respondents thought big data will go out of fashion by 2014.

The 262 respondents said the likely buzzword replacements to big data are, smart data (76 votes) and big analytics (73 votes).

Lesser contenders were:

  • Data + (26 votes)
  • Linked Data (25 votes)
  • Internet of Things (23 votes)
  • Power data (9 votes)
  • Good data (5 votes)




  1. So, someone had overthrown ‘innovation’ as the most overused buzzword in the business world after all. Good riddance? I’m not sure. I think that we’ll see the rise of ‘disruptive innovation’ competing side by side with big data in 2014.


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