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2016: What’s next?

James Richardson, Business Analytics Strategist at Qlik | Jan. 11, 2016
James Richardson, Business Analytics Strategist at Qlik, shares six top trends for the BI industry this year.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

As the saying goes, change is the only constant. In the BI technology space, that rings especially true. But even with technology ever changing and data users' demands morphing, we learned that some factors of our industry have remained status quo.

BI and analytics were still the "#1 investment priority for CIOs" in 2015, according to Gartner. Broader use of predictive analytics remains an aspirational goal for most companies. Suboptimal data quality continues to be problematic. The requirement for information governance is high, but maturity is lower than it needs to be. These are a few items that didn't change in 2015.

However, 2016 paints a new picture and here are the top six trends for the BI industry this year:

Data consumers are transforming into information activists

Rather than just consuming information, users are now engaging in data prep and profiling. An obvious outcome of this information activism is how people are using visual data discovery to explore not just business data, but topics that interest them personally. As a result, visualisation is now becoming a form of self-expression.

By creating visual apps, users are expressing their views and learning about themselves through being actively engaged with the growing volumes of data. You can see this trend in the rise of the quantified-self movement at an individual level and data-driven journalism in the mass media, altering how people are using public data to understand how society works.

Governed data discovery becomes essential

Self-service BI is the new normal - but that doesn't mean anarchy. With more data out there, users want to become more self-sufficient in creating their own analyses rather than relying on others, but this means they need to work in a managed data space. As such, governed data discovery is becoming a top priority. Within a framework of governance, users will focus their energy on getting insights from their analyses. They're able to ask "why?" multiple times, rather than question whether the data is correct. When everyone is using the same information, more efficient, accurate decisions are made.

Big data moves beyond hype to pragmatism

In 2016 we'll get past the big data hype, as more organisations start to apply some of the long standing practice of data analytics to data sources that used to fall outside of the BI space. Rather than treating new data sources as unfamiliar and novel, data usage is evolving into a more rich and complex landscape from various sources, enabling the use of practical, variant data use cases. After all, the maximum decision value is in the nodes where traditional BI data - say, financial transactions - and big data are melded together.


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