According to the IDC, the Big Data market, globally, is expected to grow at a rate of almost 32% until it reaches $23,8 billion in 2016. Identified by Gartner as a trend, there is no doubt that Big Data is a growing influence in Africa’s ICT landscape and widely considered to be a game-changer for businesses, particularly for SMBs. The ability to source, archive, manipulate and actively leverage off information will differentiate companies in a major way going forward.

The fact is that Big Data is an influence on business. However, analysts agree that the term is still not fully understood in the market and, although many descriptions of Big Data exist, more awareness of the precise definition is required.

To extract the value of Big Data and make it work for an organisation, the solution has to be reviewed against the requirements of the business. Will the technology truly add value in the environment? What are the key requirements and challenges? Why is a Big Data solution actually necessary? These are some of the questions that need to be answered.

But the market certainly has people talking – people want to see how businesses will cope with Big Data analytics, how they will utilise structured and unstructured information, especially those maintaining a close eye on developments within social media, the cloud and data platforms.

More solutions are emerging within these areas that empower the user to gain control over information, to decide when, where, how and why they should make this information accessible.

There are implications for numerous industries and operators across several sectors. If one considers the growing relevance of consumerisation and aspects such as mobility and BYOD, the role of information in the workplace is without doubt the next frontier of solution development and application.

A recent development in the social media market is Facebook’s launch of Graph Search, which, according to Richard Stacy.com, is “an attempt to turn Facebook into Google”.

Whilst these platforms have already established a strong mobile component, they are now actively pursuing the opportunity to solidify data management and manipulation methods – such as Graph Search.

This offering is a search engine feature on Facebook that allows the user to look up material shared with them over the social network. It is a central location that allows the browser to share and re-share content.

Aside from what Facebook has presented as a new dimension to experiencing the social network, Graph Search illustrates the direction some of the key role players and platforms are going in terms of handling information, specifically personal information.

The convergence of the social graph with traditional systems to collate and create a seamless environment for information adoption will dominate commerce and trade in 2013.

A strong component of consumerisation is user experience. The fact that people will be able to use these platforms to handle day-to-day tasks quickly and with no hassle has extensive appeal. One only has to consider the popularity of social networking and payment systems, the emerging social payment arena, to realise just how far we have come.