All the hype around big data last year didn't drive big growth in the worldwide BI (business-intelligence) and analytics market, according to research firm Gartner.
While the BI and analytics market grew about 8 percent to US$14.4 billion in 2013, the uptick could have been even greater, Gartner said.
Big data generally refers to mining and analyzing large sets of unstructured information obtained from the social Web, sensors and other sources, versus traditional BI, which runs reports and analyses off structured data stores.
"Even though big data hype reached a fever pitch [in 2013], this did little to move the dial for analytics," Gartner analysts Dan Sommer and Bhavish Sood wrote in the report.
Only 8 percent of organizations surveyed by Gartner have actually deployed a big data project, with some 57 percent still in the research and planning stages, according to the report. This level of experimentation is "prolonging upgrade cycles in more enterprise wide initiatives," it said.
There was also a disconnect in 2013 between the vendors with the most revenue and how quickly they grew. The top four BI companies -- SAP, Oracle, IBM and SAS Institute -- grew more slowly than the market average, according to the report.
These vendors' core challenge lies in their maturity. "Their key offerings have been IT-led enterprise BI platforms connecting information through a semantic layer to a series of functionalities, such as reporting, ad hoc query and online analytical processing," the analysts wrote. "This style of BI, while valuable, is already installed in most organizations."
Companies such as Jaspersoft and Pentaho, which provide lower-cost alternatives to those kinds of tools, grew more quickly than the market average last year, they added.
Meanwhile, data discovery tools such as those sold by Tibco Spotfire and Tableau became more of "the 'new normal'" for BI end-user experience during 2013, according to Gartner's report. These tools give users a highly visual way to iteratively move through sets of data.
Large BI vendors worked diligently last year to release data discovery products of their own, which has "moved the whole market into a more competitive phase," the analysts wrote.
Cloud-based BI also began gaining traction last year. Although it represented only 4 percent of the market, its growth rate was 42 percent. "Small businesses in particular have shifted their mentality around cloud and see it as an enabler to do more advanced things with big data and analytics, just like 'the big boys,'" the analysts wrote.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is [email protected]