Cloud Services, Big Data Dominate IT Professionals’ Online Conversations

An analysis of more than 1.5 million tweets from several thousand IT professionals in the IT services community over the period from August through November of 2012 shows a continued heavy interest in Cloud and growing focus on Big Data technology and analysis, writes Wikibon Chief Analyst David Vellante in his latest Wikibon Alert. The analysis, conducted by Wikibon in partnership with Big Data analytics company VDP Finder, shows that IT professionals use social media sparingly, but when they do they focus on information that is actionable, timely, and interesting. A large percentage of IT professional tweets provide links to well thought-out opinion pieces that synthesize and simplify bigger industry trends, short product announcements that provide context for the technology, and reports of real-life applications of technology in industry domains.

The analysis focused on a large, international community of IT professionals grouped, in order of size, into the following titles:


  • Developer/programmer (9,129 individuals),
  • Engineer (4,796),
  • Sys Admin (4,243),
  • Data Scientist (3,748),
  • Technologists/ IT Pros (3,013),
  • CIO/VP (855),
  • DBA (632),
  • IT Director/Manager (231),
  • Business Analyst (128).

The analysis, Vellante writes, shows a gradual decrease in discussions of Cloud issue, which accounted for 37% of IT professional traffic over the period, while the volume of Big Data grew steadily to provide about 33% of traffic. The related area of data analytics also grew, and accounted for about 14% of traffic. Disaster recovery, data backup, and security discussions held steady at about 6% of the total volume across the period. Finally, virtualization discussions also totaled about 4% of overall conversations.

These conversations often are intended to help IT professionals sort out the truth from the marketing hype and provide lessons learned by experience by peers to decrease decision-making risk. Wikibon conducted its analysis project in an attempt to understand what IT buyers really think about cloud computing, Big Data, and other important technology topics.

The analysis showed that:

  • Most IT practitioners are concerned about remaining relevant in the emerging Cloud/Big Data IT era.
  • Until recently Cloud computing dominated IT services conversations among IT buyers. Over the period studied, the volume of this conversation has gradually decreased. Simultaneously, the volume of Big Data and associated data analysis conversations has grown, much of it coming from the growing data scientist community.
  • Practitioners are looking for new IT certifications to enhance their skills, particularly in the area of Cloud and Big Data, and are concerned about how the growth of these areas will impact their jobs.
  • Buyers also want advice on which of the many new suppliers entering the market they should investigate and how overall market trends will impact their organizations and professional careers. They are specifically seeking information on such areas as Open Source, with its more cooperative, less profit-focused business strategy.

One major difference in the conversations distinguished those of media, marketing, and analyst groups, which tend to focus on the “next big thing”, from those of IT professionals. While the latter do have an interest in trends, projections, and strategies built on new or expected technologies, they focus on what is happening right now. The analysis also clearly shows that they use social media tools such as Twitter as a personalized news feed generated by trusted sources such as friends and colleagues.

For professional services providers, who often provide the vital link that converts raw technology into business capabilities, increasing ROI and decreasing buyer risk for IT decision makers, these social media streams provide a valuable window into the present concerns of the IT professionals who consume their services that they should leverage, Vellante writes. IT pros who are not already using social media selectively to network with peers should seek to join or develop their own online professional community. This can provide them with valuable information based on actual experience to help them build their own careers and get maximum value out of new and evolving technologies and trends.

As with all Wikibon research, this Alert is available in its entirety on the public Wikibon Web site. IT professionals are invited to register for membership in the Wikibon community. This allows them to comment on research and publish their own Professional Alerts, tips, questions, and relevant white papers. It also subscribes them to invitations to the periodic Peer Incite meetings, at which their peers discuss the solutions they have found to real-world problems, and to the Peer Incite Newsletter, in which Wikibon and outside experts analyze aspects of the subjects discussed in these meetings.