6 Business Intelligence Trends to Watch for in the New Decade

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Written by Simon Porri

What are the trends we’re facing in 2020 when it comes to business intelligence? Well, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) are most likely to drive innovation primarily in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, as already almost 40% of businesses have implemented some form of AI.

This data boom will facilitate the need for NLP (natural language processing) software as well as more advanced predictive and prescriptive analytical tools. Collating these results in actionable reports will require the use of action-orientated business intelligence (BI) software. All of this will take place under the spectre of Data Governance, and the increasing rise of cybersecurity.

Indeed, these 6 trends have already proven to be important factors in the information revolution we are experiencing and will only continue to be so over the next ten years.

Big Data and the Internet of Things

In 2019, Gartner predicted that by the end of 2020 the enterprise and automotive Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020. That is almost certainly the case as we move into an increasingly more connected, data-driven culture. Data points are everywhere and constantly being collected. AI and data investor Matt Turuk called it the “Datafication of everything” and predicts that going forward into the 2020s, we’ll see an increase in data points and data-driven analysis.

What this increase in data means, however, is we will also see a greater need for cybersecurity as there’s a corresponding rise in hacking attempts. This all comes out of that aforementioned ‘data-driven culture’. As data becomes the central thing around which decisions in business are made, we will see an increase in everything from action-orientated business intelligence to automation to predictive analytics tools. Data is changing everything.

AI and Machine Learning

By the end of 2019, around 39% of businesses implemented some form of AI into their workload. Indeed, AI and Machine Learning are constantly the coming trends in any year-end list. They have the potential to provide a revolution in productivity, and when it comes to IoT, AI and Machine learning are big trends going forward.

AI with machine learning has the ability to revolutionise how we use big data. Simply provide it with a data set and it will produce advanced analytics in a fraction of the time it would take for a human to analyse the same data in that much detail.

Pairing this with action-orientated BI dashboards and real-time analytic software and you have the perfect mix to create a true data-driven culture.

Actioned-orientated BI

So, let’s talk a little more about that data-driven culture. As we continue onwards, the amount of data that businesses will get is going to increase. After analysing that data though, turning it into actionable reports is going to be more important to data-driven decision making.

We’re already seeing BI solutions taking the standard practices of analytic tools and adapting them to not only provide insights, but also making it easier to see, communicate and track KPIs. This is what generally defines an action-orientated BI platform. Having a KPI reporting dashboard allows the setting of specific targets. These targets can then be shared using a sophisticated permissions system, with the dashboard then tracking them. This allows for better communication and a clearer set of records.

Having a BI platform leads to better results and improvements on many data-driven decisions. What’s more, having a centralised KPI platform allows for results across a wide range of business applications. Actionable BI reporting is something you should expect to see become a dominant force within the market over the next ten years — so make sure you’re in the know!

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Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) has become a crucial part of business intelligence. Also known as conversational analytics, NLP trains computer software to process language accurately and model it into a similar way to how humans read.

NLP is already a BI tool in many sectors. Chatbots, for example, are capable of efficient data abstraction from multiple sources and are most likely going to become more important. The ability to go beyond the simple ctrl+F approach for data searching, and instead having the computer abstract data forecasts, is a perfect time-saving tool.

As we move forward into 2020, we will see NLP being used more frequently in Data Storytelling and report generation, as NLP is able to translate data sets into common language. Mostly using machine learning, NLP will only get smarter as the next decade continues. This is especially important in using unstructured data.

Unstructured data is a by-product of the IoT, and NLP will be vital in leveraging this data set. Some estimates state that by 2025, 80% of worldwide data will be unstructured, and so by introducing NLP to this data, you can abstract an effective analysis for use in your BI Solution.

Predictive and Prescriptive analytics tools

Leveraging Predictive and Prescriptive analytics is probably the most popular trend right now, and as we head further into the new decade, we’ll see this continuing. This is all tied into the trend of Big Data and using this data to increase intelligence is going to be big in the coming months.

Predictive Analytics is extracting data analysis and using it to forecast trends. It can be used in any number of ways, from predicting customer numbers to future purchases. It uses Artificial Neural Networks, Autoregressive Integrated Move Average and NLP to enhance business intelligence and create new correlations that otherwise would have been missed.

Prescriptive Analytics uses these correlations to settle on KPIs and use data visualisation and data storytelling to centralise actions. They help communicate plans and structure critical and less critical actions so that the company can move forward and grow.

Over the next 10 years, we’ll see these analytical tools become more intertwined with action-oriented BI as well as with NLP. These analytical tools will continue to evolve and become more accurate throughout the decade. And we’ll most likely see BI software utilising these tools as a key feature of their KPI dashboard and of their ability to use Big Data and the IoT effectively.

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Data Governance

Data Governance is the last trend we will see prevalent throughout the next decade, and indeed every decade from now until we move into a post-data world. Data governance came to the forefront of not only business solutions, but also people’s minds with the advent of GDPR and this decade’s internet neutrality movements.

In the past year, there have been several high-profile data breaches, and this will continue as businesses continue to use Big Data. Therefore, a strong data governance framework and real-time data protection will be more important to businesses both big and small as we continue. Having strong cybersecurity is key in this new world of data we find ourselves in. Protecting your files whether they’re on the cloud or on hard drives is going to be essential in the new decade.

Companies and industries that have strong leadership and clear data governance policies will excel in the coming years, whilst those that lag behind, may find themselves being seen as untrustworthy and struggle in the years to come. Data needs to be well maintained and well organised, otherwise it is open to everyone and you lose the advantages it could have given you.

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