Top Business Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2016

Business intelligence and data analysis are industry sectors seeing rapid and significant change. Given a new year, a number of sources – including publications Information Management and PC Magazine, as well as vendors like Tableau and Targit – have the important trends they expect in BI during the coming year. Here is a mix of points that we thought were particularly important:

  • Self-service gets big. Users will increasingly want access to tools and data so they can find what they need on the fly and not wait for a central bureau. That has some implications. One is that governance, management of data quality, and security will become more important than ever. Also important will be a move beyond DIY analysis to self-service data discovery. Business users want to see what’s available.
  • Companies move to prediction and prescription. Looking at the past is fine, but executives and managers want to see what it coming. Such a move is a big complication beyond normal analytics. Data professionals will feel pressure to give management what it wants and may have to explain what steps will have to come first and how long they could take.
  • Visual analytics becomes crucial. Not even data scientists can easily navigate the complexities of enormous stores of data. Regular users haven’t a prayer. Visual tools to help uncover potentially interesting data relationships and patterns and then to do more significant analysis will become a must-have.
  • Mobile analytics has a life of its own. People need access to analytic tools no matter where they are. Access to full function analytics from mobile devices takes on new importance. At the same time, mobile data can give companies new insights into their customers, so plan on more data integration, with mobile data top of the list of what to include.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) becomes urgent. Market watchers expect IoT to become increasingly more important to companies. Their use greatly expands the amount of data to be analyzed. Companies will need to be ready with tools and storage to handle the potential opening of a data firehose.
  • SMBs need BI too. Small and middle market businesses want the same advantages as their larger cousins. Increasingly vendors are making powerful tools available to the SMB market. Such companies will also need professional expertise, whether through direct hires, consultants, or part-time access.
  • All hail experimentation. As companies look to expand their use of BI and data analysis, real innovation is necessary, and that means experimentation. Not everything tried will ultimately work out. But if executives want the benefits that BI can offer, they must be willing to productively fail.

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