Big data implementations have sprung up at companies of all sizes, often returning significant business value when backed by ample cloud infrastructure and analytics tools. Data-intensive applications and processes are changing current approaches to database management, with some companies moving from RDBMS to NoSQL.

Nearly half of respondents to a recent Tech Pro Research survey of small business stated that they had either implemented big data projects or were in the midst of doing so. Within that segment, more than 25 percent were only in the planning stages, indicating the significant growth prospects that big data initiatives may have if proven valuable for business objectives.

So far, big data has been useful to the early adopters, providing predictive models, better customer engagement metrics and real-time monitoring of trends. According to ZDNet's Teena Hammond, more than eight in 10 organizations reported seeing some payoff for their businesses as a result of big data implementation.

A key component of extracting value from big data is making sense of its information with analytics while not incurring additional costs. To that end, affordable cloud storage solutions that are interoperable with a variety of software-defined services can help startups to get the ball rolling with big data projects.

"There is no doubt that big data solutions are here to stay as they are truly helping to drive new insights, increase revenue and decrease costs for those who have made the investment," said business analytics expert and Information Control Company executive Jim Gallo. "[M]any SMBs may find that a cloud-based service is a great solution to their problem."

Expenditures on big data totaled approximately $867 million in 2012, but may top $3.6 billion by 2016, according to statistics from Techaisle. Services will continue to constitute the largest share of spending, with appliances and devices like cloud storage hardware in second place.

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