Gartner's State of Big Data 2013 Hadoop SummitWhen Gartner speaks, everyone listens. And when Big Data is the topic, they listen with both ears.

Marv Adrian, a Gartner analyst, keynoted at the Hadoop Summit earlier this week. He confirmed what we already knew, that Hadoop has come a long way, but that it still has a ways to go. It’s not pervasive in Enterprises quite yet.

Adrian discussed the preliminary results of a Gartner survey which reveals that 65% of the surveyed companies said that they have already invested in Big Data or plan to do so in the next two years. (Specific breakdown: 30% have already made investment, 19% plan to in the next year, and 15% in the next two years.)

A somewhat alarming number (31%) said that they have no plans to invest in Big Data at all, and five per cent simply don’t know.

Though an audience of vendors at the Hadoop Summit heard the 65% and saw a willing market and plenty of dollar signs, Adrian issued a word of warning -- just because a CIO has Big Data on its wish list, it doesn’t mean he/she will get the money to do it.

“There’s something about predictions,” he said. “You have to remember that a CTO’s budget is a little bit like a kid’s letter to Santa Claus. Sometimes they get what they want, and sometimes they don’t.”

Culture Clash: The Suits & the Hoodies

Adrian also articulated the culture clash between the Suits and the Hoodies, both on the Enterprise and on the vendor side. It’s not hard to picture the executive with the multi-million budget who promises the business ground-breaking business results from the discoveries that shedding the light on dark data can reveal. But when the business asks exactly what these results are going to look like, how much the bottom line is going to grow as a result, and so on … the truth may be that he doesn’t know, that you can’t predict what’s going to be discovered.

The ROI, a hoodie will tell you, is unknown, and for him/her that’s exciting, they’ll hack away until they find something of interest. And, by the way, though the hoodie might seem kind of rogue and into Open Source which still makes the business nervous, he/she is also smart, understands where the dangers of Open Source are and where they (more than likely) are not, and that they’re there to help the business make money, save money, innovate new products, be smarter and so on.

Adrian says these two cultures must come together to show that Big Data will produce big wins. In my mind, this is already happening -- today’s suits aren’t as afraid or as uncomfortable with geeks as others may think; in fact, to many of the baby boomers that remain in the workforce, the GenY’s are living their teenage dreams. But that’s an aside…