7 business intelligence predictions for 2017

The last couple of years have seen major changes in the growth of data and how it is managed and utilised. In 2015, IBM estimated that 2.5 quintillion new bytes of data were generated each day, and throughout 2016, this data proliferation showed no sign of slowing down as more businesses undergo digital transformation to better respond to the rapidly changing industry demands. 

Many companies have started to appoint a chief data officer to exclusively control, manage and govern this surge in data volume. How this data and content was stored is also a growing concern, causing more businesses to migrate to the cloud or hybrid solutions, as these provided numerous advantages in terms of facilitating collaboration, ease of access and unparalleled cost savings compared to on-premise storage.    

Managing, curating and storing data will continue to be on the agenda, but as we look towards 2017, organisations that understand the growing potential of big data and the need to analyse it efficiently will be the ones that see the greatest success. Here are seven Business Intelligence strategies that will define the year ahead.    

1. make adoption pervasive

You’ve likely thought of the impact BI software has on the data scientists at your company, but what about everyone else? It’s time we make the most of our BI investments by distributing them to every single person in an organisation and apply invisible governance to control access. 

Your sales, marketing and human resources departments can all do their jobs better with the right analytics tools at their fingertips, whether they’re sharing competitor information in the cloud, collaborating on sales forecast dashboards to make the most of every potential deal or accessing employment data on their phone in between interviews.    

2. Simplify systems and reduce costs  

2017 is a great year to assess infrastructure and do some “spring cleaning” to reduce unnecessary costs and complexity while still properly maintaining systems. Businesses will desire all-in-one solutions which offer multiple capabilities. 

According to the research firm IDC, organisations will spend $187 billion on big data and analytics technology by 2019, an increase of 50 per cent from the $122 billion invested in 2015. New, enterprise-ready technologies make it possible to pay less and do more with improved uptime and the flexibility to scale up and down as business needs change.    

3. Say goodbye to limits on data discovery 

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed the consumerisation of IT, with many departments choosing to roll out their own point solutions for data discovery. The goal is a smart one: build compelling visualisations and reports to show managers what that department has achieved. 

But many organisations don’t have the proper pieces in place for a consistent view of their data. Others have been so successful with data discovery, they’ve realised their current solution has limits to how widely that data can be shared. This is the year to roll out a data discovery solution primed for success in the enterprise, not just for the short-term, but for decades to come.    

4. Choose a tool that does it all 

I’ve heard many organisations say that they use “all” tools for business intelligence and analytics. But that isn’t efficient for cost, training, maintenance or cross-team collaboration. I believe 2017 will be the first year in a long time that organisations prioritise tool consolidation. 

They’ll take the one tool they use for mobile apps or data discovery and wrangling or in-memory analytics and implement a single, cohesive platform that meets all of their needs and decreases development and maintenance time.    

5. Anticipate the future of big data 

It’s no secret that big data continues to be an extremely fluid and dynamic space. Back in 2014 and 2015, companies were focused on having a plan to extract information from big data. But in 2017 and beyond, organisations need any analytics investments they make to be extremely flexible. 

That’s because what you’re building today will likely change in six to 12 months as new forms of big data reveal themselves. Today’s organisations need the ability to rewire thousands of dashboards and reports without losing hours of existing investments. 

The value of big data and flexible analytics will be especially relevant for the retail industry, as businesses can use the insights to customise marketing activities, manage stock levels and customer service in order to build consumer loyalty and increase revenue.   

6. Position analytics at the core of your organisation 

Today, analytics solutions touch every aspect of an organisation and are being accessed by more people in more departments across more industries than ever before. In 2017, analytics will become even more pervasive. More and more companies will be empowered to build custom-branded mobile and desktop applications and take their analytics tools from a reporting solution to a core piece of the company’s ecosystem.    

7. Gain a bird’s eye view of operations 

In 2017, companies will prioritise getting a better handle on assets across the entire organisation—understanding how employees interact with the business and its buildings, who is using what technology, when they’re using it and how.

Armed with this information, organisations can better understand and take action on everything from work attendance to the communication tools employees prefer in real-time, making it far easier to determine where to consolidate and reduce costs. 

On the customer side, companies can use monitoring tools to identify top customers and how much revenue they’re bringing in. And in many cases, these implementations can be built in less than a day.   

More businesses will be undergoing digital transformation in the New Year and The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has forced businesses to adapt and change their own processes in 2016, will see them take this a step further. 

Companies will search for ways to gain even more value from their analytics and empower every member of the business to utilise key learnings to not only inform their decisions, but help improve staff retention, customer satisfaction and service.       

Hugh Owen, SVP of marketing at MicroStrategy. 

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