Where will Business Intelligence be in 2016?

With more employees gaining greater access to a wider range of company information and data processing tools becoming more user-friendly and affordable, the coming year should spell big changes in the BI marketplace...

LONDON - December 18, 2015.


If 2015 was the year that cloud BI was embraced by the many, the year that follows should naturally be the springboard for competition, as every data processing provider looks to get in on the action.

Cloud processing of online data has become more-or-less secure and highly scalable. This coming year it may well make the transition from something early adopters have been tinkering with, to a critical enterprise system that few businesses can live without, owing to its affordability, agility and speed.

Mobile BI will take a lead in allowing users to monitor their businesses performance in real time, from anywhere in the world.

This year, a slew of new products emerged that focussed on providing mobile BI tools to customers, where before, incumbent BI firms merely bolted mobile functionality onto their legacy offerings. 2016 will doubtless be the year that mobile BI comes of age thanks to this boom in tailored solutions, leveraging the ever-more powerful processing power of the cloud.

While the gap between business and technology continues to narrow, and the popularity of self-service analytics grows among staff, governance remains a key consideration.

Where before, companies had profound concerns about staff accessing their financial data, they are now coming around to the fact that their business objectives can be better met when data governance is done right. Next year should see more centralisation of businesses' data sources, with performance and security managed by their IT departments.

Just as BI and analytics have evolved from being resources favoured by data scientists and coders to become tools that everyday employees can use, thanks to simplified user interfaces, those same employees have evolved themselves to demand more control and functionality of BI systems as their confidence has increased. Thus, the coming year will see BI tools become more intuitive in ways that allow staff who have a handle on advanced analytics to exploit their growing knowledge of these systems further.

As such, visual analytics will become the norm, enabling people to collaborate and build communities around data, while employers will seek out candidates who can think critically with data to reach insights more quickly using self-service data preparation tools.

For all of this to work effectively, the data itself must be easier to source and siphon off to the right analysts efficiently, so integration will grow in importance. This could lead to the development of data exploration engineers whose sole job is to ensure the right types of data is collected at their respective sources. They would then funnel this specific data off to corresponding 'agile' analysts, eliminating issues of cross-over and reducing the time taken to untangling multiple data streams.

Almost certainly, demand for tools that offer insights into the sharply growing-volumes of IoT or Internet of Things data will gain prevalence as anything that is plugged into a power socket sends information back to central servers, and businesses stand to gain from the insights they can draw from it. At the same time, data warehouses and database systems offering the ability to carry and process vastly more data will begin appearing.

Finally, single solutions that attempt to offer a one-size-fits-all approach to manage all of the above requirements may have had their day this side of 2015, with suites of unconnected apps and software offerings becoming the accepted norm next year.

In 2006, these so-called 'gap-fillers' promise to consolidate a fragmented BI marketplace that demands new technologies like NoSQL data integration, Hadoop Accelerators and social media-connected advanced visual analytics to manage an ever-growing set of business intelligence data.

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