Big data, artificial intelligence, automation, consumerization, and expectations of users have had profound impact on business intelligence and data analysis over the last few years. Line-of-business employees at all levels expect critical data to better perform their jobs. Information must be usable and available in real time. Projects must come together under reasonable deadlines and stay well within budgets that are less than was true when BI was considered an exotic and experimental undertaking.
The immediate future will likely be even more demanding. To be useful in their positions while tending their careers, BI professionals need a sense of where the industry and practices might be going. Here are some of the top trends and concerns for BI in 2017.
Conundrum of self-service
Self-service has been one of the industry’s drumbeats for the last few years. Users want the ability to get what they need, when they need it, and the capability of exploring data without a technologist figuratively sitting at their elbow. And yet, some argue that corporations will be forced to hit the brakes. While users have their demands, companies need information governance so there is proper support for solutions, data sources are approved and clean, and storage and devices are secure. That means tension and a need for some smart solutions.
Cloud may be less important than many assume
According to a survey of users, consultants, and software vendors about BI trends, there was one topic in which the different groups varied widely in their responses: cloud BI. Vendors ranked the trend as 5.9 out of 10 while users gave it a 3.7. Instead, users said master data management, data quality, and analytical databases were more important. That will affect strategies at companies.
Collaboration increases in importance
The needs of companies will push the importance of collaboration. Users and professionals all will want the ability to move data in multiple directions and allow dynamic access to information rather than dependence on static documents that require reentry of information to make further use of it. The need for collaboration and innovation will also drive embeddable BI capabilities that can be added to other applications.
Visualization and discovery still aren’t strong enough
Data discovery and visualization remain at the top of trends, according to a survey of 2,800 BI professionals. There should be little surprise because BI is ultimately about conveying insight to line-of-business people. Visual displays are some of the most effect ways of doing so. Expect an expansion of that need into a greater category of storytelling. Compelling explanation of both what trends data can convey and their relevance will help BI professionals cement their usefulness.
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