Thursday, October 19, 2017

Data, analytics & cloud: 5 BI trends that will shape 2017

by James Eiloart, SVP Tableau EMEA

If 2016 has taught us one thing, it is that self-service data analytics is here to stay. While IT teams began leveraging technologies to scale analytics programmes this year, business users were collaborating with their data in new ways to allow access for all.

Self-service has beckoned a new age where the business user can work with corporate data even if they lack statistical analysis skills. As a consequence, BI is empowering users to solve business problems through data-driven solutions, rather than relying on subjective intuition.

As we look forward to 2017, this culture of self-service analytics will continue to spread and become a workplace norm. The tools that support this evolution will become commonplace. What was once limited to the few, will now become accessible to the many.

With that, here are the top five BI trends we see shaping 2017:

  1. Everyone can take advantage of BI

Like most things, many heads are better than one when it comes to business analytics. Gone are the days of IT departments spending time on sharing data via static PDFs or PowerPoint decks to relevant teams.

All employees have the opportunity to share live, interactive workbooks and data sources to help drive business decisions, thanks to the availability of visual analytics and the power of self-service.

And in 2017, collaborative analytics will take centre stage as governed data becomes more accessible and cloud technology enables easy sharing, signaling the end of an era in which information flows in one direction.


  1. Working with data, without even knowing it

Unsurprisingly, analytics works best when it’s a natural part of people’s workflow. In 2017, analytics will become more widespread, with markets expecting analytics to enrich every business process.

Embedded BI will extend the reach of analytics to the point that people may not even realise they’re experiencing it – not unlike the use of predictive analytics to recommend a film on Netflix.


  1. IT becomes the data hero

It seems that IT departments have often drowned in the endless churn of building reports to support data requests from the business.

Today, IT is free to evolve from ‘producer’ to become the ‘enabler’. IT has the opportunity to take charge of the transformation to self-service analytics at scale. And according to Gartner, high-performing organisations’ analytics teams are “working as a trusted partner with the business”.

Not only this, but IT is providing the flexibility and agility the business needs to innovate, all while balancing governance and data security. By empowering the organisation to make data-driven decisions at the speed of business, IT becomes the data hero helping shape the future of the business.



  1. Data gravity means transitioning to the cloud

With businesses moving their data to the cloud, the realisation that analytics should also live in the cloud will become mainstream. In 2017, we predict data gravity to drive businesses to deploy their analytics where their data lives. While many organisations will continue to use a hybrid architecture of cloud and on-premises solutions, cloud analytics will increasingly represent a faster and more scalable solution.


  1. Data analytics takes the spotlight

In 2016, LinkedIn listed statistical analysis and data mining as one of the hottest skills to get candidates hired. Considering the push to boost innovation across industries – in particular, through better understanding of data – it’s no surprise that the demand for BI and data analytics skills is as high as ever.

In 2017, we expect to see data analytics become a core competency for professionals of all types.

To ensure this happens, education institutions will create and expand new programmes to include data analytics, and use the latest technologies to do this. And in the workforce, people will expect to see developed BI platforms encourage decision-making at all levels.