Business Intelligence and Analytics is one of the fastest growing fields in computing. Not only is it quickly expanding into places like the cloud, but it’s evolving so rapidly that the BI of just a few years ago is hardly a whisper of what it is today.
And there’s no sign of slowing down in the years to come. As 2014 marches on, I see a number of trends breaking through and becoming the next big thing in BI.
Before we can predict the trends, however, it helps to understand the business reasoning behind them. Every company is trying to offer more, better, and faster services for their customers. But the one who is going to beat the competition is the company who is present with their customer. By that I mean, understanding what the customer wants and executing it immediately.
We live in a state of immediacy. From groceries to dog toys, and beauty supplies to a ride home from the bar, there’s no shortage of businesses competing to deliver exactly what customers want, when they want it.
Just last December, Jeff Bezos made the bold announcement that Amazon has been working on the possibility of fulfilling deliveries faster than ever with electric drones. Imagine ordering new headphones and having them delivered to your doorstep within 30 minutes.
So how does this translate into computing? 2014 will see three major BI trends emerging, all of which stem from one basic principle: the need for speed.
1. Mobile BI
For a business to be truly responsive, they must be able to analyze data very quickly. That means making the shift to real-time analytics. And in order to do that, companies must be able to analyze anytime from anywhere. Therefore, rather than a new technology in 2014, I see the first major shift to be one that’s already been emerging in 2013: mobile BI. Without a doubt, 2014 is going to be the year of mobility.
With so much business being conducted on the fly, it’s clear that the amount of time a decision-maker has to make important decisions is decreasing. Business doesn’t stop – in fact, it doesn’t even slow down – to wait for you to catch up. Opportunities are made or lost in seconds.
And Business Intelligence solutions are stepping up to the plate. Many current mobile BI platforms only present dashboards on your mobile device, with very little ability to analyze the root causes for new problems or opportunities on the rise. As mobile BI evolves, the solutions will be more responsive, enabling users to deal with problems in real-time directly from their mobile device.
BI and Analytics solutions such as TARGIT have already stepped into that realm with the belief that users shouldn’t just be consuming on their mobile devices, they should be acting. Now, users can travel through the entire OODA loop, from Observation to Orientation to Decision, and finally Action all from the comfort of home, the backseat of a cab, or a sunny fairway.
The most relevant decisions are made when the decision-maker can be present in the situation. And bring fully present means being able to make decisions immediately. Mobile BI makes full-time active engagement possible. And more mobility translates to more analytics.
2. Increased Analytics
Not only is the decision window shrinking, but the factors that go into decision-making are growing quantifiably. As we say all the time at TARGIT, “big data” is BIG. 2014, then, will be the year companies start more intelligently using external data with BI and Analytics.
What has commonly been referred to as “big data” in years past isn’t necessarily about how big the data can be; it’s about using external data as a strategic part of the decision process. External data is the vast amount of data that you cannot control. With resources like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs at every consumer’s fingertips, it won’t be long before a company’s external data far exceeds their internal data.
Studies have shown that consumers do 60 to 70 percent of their purchasing online. Not only are they buying online, but up to 90 percent of consumers say that online presence and reviews affect their purchasing decisions. That’s a significant time and dollars being spent online.
In many cases, that means many customers are forming their opinions about your brand before they even come in contact with you. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they’re saying? To stay competitive then, businesses are increasingly looking outside the enterprise to make more intelligent decisions.
This data is so big and complex that it’s incredibly challenging to process, manage, and measure using traditional data processing applications and business intelligence. It’s a constantly moving target that will only continue to grow in speed and complexity. Companies that don’t learn from and adapt to big data will quickly be left in the dust.
3. A Shift in Architecture
This great increase of data and analytics will lead to a mainstream adaptation of hardware to keep up with demand. Logically, the more data sources pulled into an analysis, the more speed is needed simply to maintain expected standards.
Companies will first optimize their existing solutions with advanced hardware. From there, BI and analytics will outgrow the current rotating disc process and into solid state drives. Some Business Intelligence and Analytics providers, such as TARGIT, are already performing analytics with this in-memory technology. Lastly, more companies will shift to cloud-based architecture in order to provide massive scale that simply isn’t available with today’s typical BI framework.
As you can see, the three major BI trends in 2014 are related to providing more presence in the customer experience. And to do that, speed is king. Mobility will gradually become mainstream and real-time analytics will become a standard. Analytics in general will expand, processing an increasingly large and complex number of data sources. And in order to keep up with it all, companies will be making leaps forward in their hardware and architecture.
2014 is already shaping up to be a banner year for business intelligence and analytics. I can’t wait to see it all unfold.
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Dr. Morten Middelfart
Founder and Chairman of Social Quant
I've been working professionally in the software industry since I was 14 years old, and my passion for computers has never stopped growing. Today, I'm deeply involved in educational activities that advocate my research within business intelligence and analytics. By the time I was 25, I had established Morton Systems, my first business intelligence and analytics c..