5 Business Intelligence Trends to Consider in 2017



Business intelligence is becoming the way of the future, but there are a few different factors to consider, when choosing the best system software for your company.

For the technically un-savvy, or for those companies that simply don’t have the budget to hire an in-house data scientist, a business intelligence software system can really put them ahead of the game.  Business intelligence can help companies predict all sorts of things, from what products to discontinue to which marketing campaigns really resonated with customers.

In short, business intelligence is becoming the way of the future, but there are a few different factors to consider, when choosing the best system software for your company, so you’ll want to do some research, beforehand.

1. Visualization in Business Intelligence

The first trend that seems prevalent, across various sources and analyses, is the role of visualization in business intelligence. That is, visualization is becoming more and more integral to what is considered good business intelligence. The Business Application Research Center (BARC) surveyed 2,800 users, consultants, and vendors of business intelligence (BI) for their opinions on the most important trends in BI, at the moment, and data visualization came out on top. But how should you go about visualizing said data?

Boris Evelson, Vice President of Forrester Research, details a few helpful tips to guide you in how to best go about visually presenting data. First, he suggests we ask ourselves whether visualization is really necessary to the type of information we’re trying to illustrate.

We can consider our audience, when making this decision, as well: are you presenting your findings to executives or data scientists? Regardless of what information you are illustrating, apply best practices like interactive elements: navigation, animation, and icons, for example. Finally, make it your goal to tell a compelling story through your presentation—for example, by using a storyboard or a timeline.

2. Cloud-based or in-house?

Another issue of key concern regarding business intelligence in 2017 will be whether it is cloud-based or in-house. The answer, again, depends on a few key factors. The first factor to consider is security. Depending on what type of information you plan to store, it might not make sense to entrust customer data, for example, to a third party cloud host.

If, on the other hand, you simply need to find a cloud-based host to house a company website, security would likely not be as much of a concern. Another factor to consider is speed: if your company plans to analyze a high volume of information every day, bandwidth may become an issue. Finally, a cloud-based application will offer only limited customization. There’s also a price difference, with cloud-based BI likely being more affordable than in-house applications.

3. Self-service business intelligence

One major trend in business intelligence is the popularity of self-service BI: according to Boston University, 83 percent of business professionals reported easy access to data was an attractive feature of self-service business intelligence.

Self-service BI was also named as one of the top three BI trends by BARC in the above-mentioned survey. Centric Digital also stresses the popularity and importance of self-service BI tools, since it would allow members from your entire organization to easily report on their own terms—a change that is likely to increase the amount of data being considered, hence increasing the accuracy of its analysis, as well.

4. Data governance

Although self-service BI is definitely a major trend for the next year, data governance will also play a large role in helping to ensure more efficient data management, as well as high data quality, better insight, and improved collaboration across departments. Think of data governance as a streamlining process that allows for more efficient access to information and increased visibility leading to better analytics. CIO writes, “This visibility, if used right, helps organizations manage their data more effectively and helps identify potential opportunities and manage performance.”

5. Automation and artificial intelligence

One final point of interest is the increasing demand for automation and artificial intelligence (AI), when it comes to BI. For example, there’s a new technology called “Helical Insight” that is supposedly the world’s first open source business intelligence (BI) framework, and it has the ability to perform data analysis and decision making instantaneously.

According to its co-founder, Nikhilesh Tiwari, “AI can take the place of these data scientists to generate reports and other visualizations. With search driven analytics, tools like Helical Insight can empower anyone to be a data scientist”—due in part to its neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). This type of software is also an extension of the demand for more self-service BI tools.

Those are my picks for the most important factors and trends in business intelligence for 2017. What are your thoughts regarding BI in the coming year? Do you have an opinion on the most pressing BI trend, over the coming months? What about a relevant experience that points to one particular future trend? Share your input in the comments section, below!

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Image Source: Steve Johnson

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