Business intelligence continues to be one of the fastest-moving areas in the enterprise. And not only is the technology moving fast, but the techniques people are using to drive adoption and get value from their data are multiplying. Among these trends are an increasing appetite for more advanced analytics to answer deeper questions, and new approaches emerging for governance of self-service BI. The potential for innovation is far from over. This paper highlights the top trends in business intelligence for 2016.
1. GOVERNANCE AND SELF-SERVICE ANALYTICS BECOME BEST FRIENDS.
Many people have considered governance and self-service analytics to be natural enemies. Maybe that’s why those people were surprised to see governance and self-service having a drink together. The war is over, and the cultural gap between business and technology is closing. Organizations have learned that data governance, when done right, can help nurture a culture of analytics and meet the needs of the business. People are more likely to dig into their data when they have centralized, clean, and fast data sources, and when they know that someone (IT) is looking out for security and performance.
Data is changing the conversation—in boardrooms, in the media, and in social media. People are visualizing their data to explore questions, uncover insights, and share stories with both data experts and non-experts alike. As data usage grows, even more people will turn to data with both professional and personal questions. And employers will look for candidates who can think critically with data. Visual analytics will serve as the common language, empowering people to reach insights quickly, collaborate meaningfully, and build a community around data.
Self-service analytics tools have changed people’s expectations for good. In 2016, people will seek empowerment across the data continuum, especially as more millennials enter the workforce. For business users to stay iterative, they must be able to shape certain data on the fly. That’s why the demand for self-service data preparation tools and even self-service data warehouses will grow as a natural extension of self-service analytics. This democratization will allow people to respond quickly to shifting priorities.
These days many companies want agile analytics. They want to get the right data to the right people, and quickly. This is no small challenge, because that data lives in many different places. Working across data sources can be tedious, impossible, or both. In 2016, we’ll see a lot of new players in the data integration space. With the rise of sophisticated tools and the addition of new data sources, companies will stop trying to gather every byte of data in the same place. Data explorers will connect to each data set where it lives and combine, blend, or join with more agile tools and methods.
Non-analysts across the organization are becoming more sophisticated. They’ve come to expect more than a chart on top of their data. They want a deeper, more meaningful analytics experience. Organizations will adopt platforms that let users apply statistics, ask a series of questions, and stay in the flow of their analysis.
In 2015, people began embracing the cloud. They realized putting data in the cloud is easy and highly scalable. They also saw that cloud analytics allows them to be agile. In 2016, more people will transition to the cloud thanks, in part, to tools that help them consume web data. Early adopters are already learning from this data, and others are realizing they should. And more companies will use cloud analytics to analyze more data faster. They’ll come to rely on it just like any other critical enterprise system.
An increasing number of organizations will establish a Center of Excellence to foster adoption of self-service analytics. These centers play a critical role in implementing a data-driven culture. Through enablement programs like online forums and one-on-one training, the centers empower even non-experts to incorporate data into their decision-making. Over time, these centers enable data to inform workflow across the entire organization.
Mobile analytics has grown up and moved out. It’s no longer just an interface to legacy business intelligence products. In 2015, products with a fluid, mobile-first experience began to emerge. Working with data out in the world is going from being a chore to becoming a dynamic part of the analytics process.
The Internet of Things is poised to become even more prevalent in 2016. It seems that everything will have a sensor that sends information back to the mothership. Just think of all the data mobile devices are generating around the clock—and that’s just one piece. As the volume of IoT data grows, so does the potential for insights. Companies will look for tools that allow users to explore the data, then share their findings in a secure, governed, and interactive way.
There are a number of new technologies in the BI ecosystem. As these go to market, we’ll see gaps that need to be filled. There will be new companies to do just that. Hadoop accelerators, NoSQL data integration, IoT data integration, improved social media—each of these provide an opportunity for a new company to start up. In 2016, we’ll see the rise of the gap fillers, leading to a market consolidation. And organizations will continue to shift away from single solutions and embrace an open and flexible stack that includes these new technologies.