Big Data analytics is a popular subject of debate and frequent topic in the media. Hardly a day goes by without an article or two about the use of Big Data analytics in one large enterprise or another. Judging by media reports, Big Data analytics is as easy as collecting some data, deploying an application or two and waiting for the "game-changing" insights to start rolling in.

The reality is Big Data analytics is hard. For every success story highlighted in The Wall Street Journal or trade publication, there are many others enterprises struggling to get value out of their investments in Big Data analytics technologies, services and staff. We know this anecdotally, but there is also hard data to back up this claim.

A September 2013 survey of the Wikibon community found that 48% of Big Data practitioners have yet to realize the full value of their Big Data analytics investments. On average, respondents reported realizing just $.55 in return for every dollar invested. Still, expectations are high. Respondents said they expect to ultimately realize a return of $3.50 per dollar invested in Big Data Analytics over the next three to five years. Clearly, these practitioners and organizations have a long way to go.