10/01/2014 04:48 GMT | Updated 11/03/2014 05:59 GMT

Big Data in 2014: Five Predictions

2013 was a year in which big data became a 'hot topic' for discussion and debate, reaching far beyond the usual industry journals and making the mainstream news for a number of good and bad reasons. With that in mind there has been a great deal of speculation about what trends we should expect to see in big data in 2014.

Much of the discussion towards the end of 2013 looked ahead to a year in which businesses would increase their focus on analytics and data-related security. Here are 5 big data predictions for 2014 that are starting to dominate the discussion of industry professionals:

1. Analytics driven decision-making

Many observers have suggested that organisations will aim to implement analytics-derived insights to a wider range of business operations as they become more data driven in 2014. The inference here is an emphasis on utilizing data and analytics in all key business processes, enabling better decision-making from employees. 2014 looks like it could be the year that analytics improves decision-making 'across the board'.

2. Big Data Security on the increase

Without doubt big data privacy and security was one of the hottest big data related topics of 2013, which one would have to expect is not going to go away quickly. The need for businesses to improve and increase their security and privacy policies in their big data processes is something that we can expect to see many organisations addressing in 2014. As the year progresses, many will be hoping to see some success stories in this area, as the bench-mark is in many ways still being set.

3. Organisations appointing a CDO

The Chief Data Officer may still sound like a newly invented role to some, but this is a position that has seen an increase in recruitment over the past twelve months. In 2013 Gartner reported a significant increase in the number of organisations with CDO's by comparison to 2012; so with the increase in Big Data focus that many are predicting for 2014, it would certainly make sense for organisations to be structured to include their own 'Data Champion'

4. Smarter big data apps.

2013 was the year for a huge increase in awareness and understanding of big data, which has led to the development of big data apps with the ability to make analytics more available (and more simplified) than ever before. Many are predicting that 2014 will see the emergence of this arena's big players, whether it be from existing developers or from new startups. This is one area that has the potential to see a great deal of improvement and growth over the course of the next twelve months.

5. Increased investment in big data

Much of the discussion in 2013 focused on the need for an increase in investment into big data projects, which seemed to be one of the lessons that many organisations learned over the course of the year. Of course many of the other predictions here will not be possible without the increase in investment that many predict a large number of organisations will make in 2014. There is a wider range of products and applications available for analytics and reporting tools, than were available twelve months ago - which is something that the numerous newly appointed CDO's will be observing in great detail to choose those which offer the best ROI as the year progresses.

These are just a few of the key predictions for 2014, based on the discourse around Big Data at the year end, as well as observations of the developments seen in 2013.