Top business intelligence trends of 2017

Data is the oil of many modern organisations, but what are the trends in BI they should be aware of?

Harnessing data to produce business intelligence needed to gain a competitive edge is more important than ever to many organisations today. But where is the BI field headed? We look at the trends for 2017. 

Data discovery/visualisation

According to the Top Business Intelligence Trends 2017 report, visualisation and explorative data analysis for business users (known as data discovery), has become one of the most important trends in BI.

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The increasing variety of data available today needs more efficient and user-oriented methods of presentation, according to the report. Visualisations help people quickly digest the most relevant information at a glance.

Self-Service BI

Another BI trend coming to the fore is self-service BI, manifesting itself as an ever-growing demand from business users for ad hoc reporting, analysis and flexibility. But this demand for BI data to be available anytime, anywhere, and on any device, is putting pressure on IT as enterprises are increasingly allowing users to build and design their own reports, models and queries.

Master Data/Data Quality Management

With master data and data quality management, users can make the right decisions based on accurate data. The aim of master data management is to integrate and exchange data from customer, supplier or product master data across multiple systems. 

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Embedded BI

According to a report by Tableau Software, businesses are increasingly embedding BI and analytics closer to where people work. This year, it expects to see analytics put into the hands of people who aren't BI specialists, such as shop workers, call centre staff, and lorry drivers. This embedded BI extends analytics to people who may not even realise they are using it. 

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More BI in the cloud

BI and analytics are moving faster into the cloud becoming a mainstream practice in 2017. The concept of data gravity (data pulls in more data), means that analytics is deployed where data lives. As such, with such cloud-based data warehouses as Amazon Redshift, the need for analytics in the cloud becomes greater as it represents a faster and more scalable solution to organisations, says the Tableau Software report. "Cloud data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift will continue to be a popular data destination and cloud analytics will become more prevalent as a result," it said.

Artificial Business Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will play an increasingly important role in business intelligence. The increasing amount of data available to businesses will mean there is no time to sift through all of it to find trending and patterns. There will also be little time produce reports.

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According to a report by Hitachi Solutions, this is leading to the rise in use of machine learning, "where data structures can be integrated with decision trees so that executives can access the data they need, when they want it, in the channel that they prefer instead of relying on a secondary resources and static reporting".

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