8 Data Trends in Business Intelligence to Expect in 2021

The need for data and business intelligence capabilities is growing just as fast as our world is changing. Here are some of the trends that will bring new challenges and expanded capabilities to business leaders in virtually every industry.

High-Level Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic motivated many companies to think about data in new ways. Companies in many industries found themselves without the data they needed to respond to the crisis rather than react to it. As a result, there are some global trends that we’ll see in 2021.

1. Self-Sufficiency Will Replace Self-Service

Many industries have been hard at work to satisfy their customers’ expectation that they’ll be able to answer questions themselves rather than waiting on hold or being transferred from department to department. Self-service is a competitive advantage for many.

However, the concept of self-service will evolve into self-sufficiency. There will be more micro-insights, data, and stories accessible by the consumer. Giving users access to data that is often overlooked. But, there will be a move from visualization self-service to data self-sufficiency. AI will be critical to create no-code analytics.

2. The General Population Will Access Data, Visualizations, and Storytelling

The general public is becoming more data literate, and the demand for data presented in a form that is easily digested will continue. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the general population’s thirst for data. The CDC and the states are publishing COVID-19 statistics daily, and people are learning to understand the definition of a rolling 7-day average.  

The challenges related to supporting that demand include determining how to present data in a way that is understandable within its context. Meeting that challenge will be helped by developing common data models and business logic.

3. Current and Even Real-time Data Will Increase in Importance

The pace of change and the increase in the amount of data in our world will continue to produce a need for real-time data. For example, things such as quarterly forecasts are often obsolete even before they’re distributed. Systems will need to create alerts and data refreshes faster than ever before.

The challenges will include learning how to provide “business-ready” data with business logic and context already applied to it. Another challenge will be automating the business process of providing the data as necessary.

Top Data and Analytics Trends

Gartner saw a need for a reset after the pandemic and identified the most important trends that leaders in data and analytics need to address in order to move forward.

4. AI Will Change

Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprises will move from conducting AI pilots to putting AI into production systems. However, during the pandemic it became clear that models based on historical data weren’t producing the required results. AI will move toward perfecting learning algorithms to provide things such as reinforcement learning and explainable AI.

5. Dashboards Will Be Replaced

While business intelligence dashboards have revolutionized how people digest analytics, Gartner predicts that data stories will be the most widespread tool for absorbing analytics. AI and machine learning approaches will be common in business intelligence platforms, meaning that the user won’t need to perform an analysis on their own.

6. Decision Intelligence Will Evolve

Decision intelligence combines many disciplines, with decision support and decision management among the most important. It gives users the ability to refine decision models within the context of business outcomes and behavior. Decision intelligence unifies complex systems, machine learning, and decision analysis to help companies better understand business behaviors and outcomes.

Example: Automated credit card applications offer an extremely simple example of decision intelligence. The system gathers data about the applicant, and the criteria used to evaluate applicants and grant credit. The system can then reject the application or accept it and decide on an amount for the initial line of credit based on business rules.

The system gathers business data and information about how the company makes decisions and uses that in a decision model to reach conclusions. Gartner predicts that more than 33% of large companies will be using decision intelligence by 2023.

7. Augmented Data Management Will Evolve

Data management has seen impressive developments in recent years. Augmented data management takes advantage of machine learning and AI. It looks at operational data and or related metadata such as queries, performance data and schemas to tune and optimize operations.

8. The Cloud Will Take Over Analytics

According to Gartner’s prediction, cloud services will be the technology of choice for 90% of data and analytics innovation by 2022. The decision to move to the cloud is often based on cost. IT leaders will move to identifying the work that can leverage cloud capabilities and will put more weight on the opportunity for change and supporting innovation than pure cost.

Next Steps

If you’re facing business intelligence and data challenges in 2021, Strategis can help you take advantage of what is available today and to prepare for tomorrow. Our dedication to data-centric challenges ensures that you’ll work with the best and brightest experts to meet those challenges. Contact our team today for more information.

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