The Future of BI: How millennials are changing business data analytics

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Written by Simon Porri

It’s fair to say that the future of BI currently rests on the shoulders of our youngest team members. Thanks to their digital native skillset and a unique understanding of how big data applies in a business setting, as many as 40% of employers are now actively seeking millennial employees to address business intelligence pain points. A fact that, incidentally, has led to our youngsters dominating the 2020 job market.

The simple fact is that no one understands BI trends better than the generation that’s primarily behind their creation. By bringing millennials on board to change data analytics for good, companies can, at last, enjoy benefits such as improved data quality and business intelligence solutions that reap rewards without compromise.

This should be a key priority for any company in the data-driven culture that current operations rely on, and it could be the thing to provide a much-needed competitive edge in the modern market. The question is, how exactly can your millennial employees help you achieve goals that have continually remained out of reach for even the most experienced members of your team?

Understanding growing demand

Given that 90% of the world’s big data was created in the last two years alone, you could say that demand for comprehensive analytics through BI implementations has grown a great deal of late, from both a business and consumer standpoint. No one understands that better than the generation primarily driving this demand. Millennials, more than anyone else in your business right now, understand the need for increasingly automated and augmented analytics that meet these growing demands with ease. And, for the most part, they know the BI tools you need to make that possible.

As if that weren’t enough, millennials also uniquely understand the challenge of ever-changing data consumption and the need for companies to keep on top here, too. After all, 62% of the population now uses mobile phones to communicate with businesses. This is relevant to BI in that data collation needs to offer one-source-of-truth correlations across devices, but it also goes deeper than that.

That’s because demand is also growing for easy access to data from the mobile devices in question. This applies to consumers who seek mobile-led machine learning applications with the best possible datasets behind them. It also applies to millennial workforces in themselves, 92% of whom desire the option to work remotely, and thus access company data from mobile devices and similar.

Ultimately, companies need to expand their data warehouses and business analytics to meet these growth points. And, millennials are likely their best chance at doing so.

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The self-service generation

With estimated attention spans as short as eight seconds, it’s hardly surprising that around 71% of millennials in the workplace right now report feeling unengaged or outright disinterested in business processes. This is an issue that’s guaranteed to come especially to the fore if millennials have to deal with long and laborious data processes for otherwise simple functions and problem-solving. The situation is set to become even worse if they have to seek information through the authority figures that they don’t often respect in the sense that you might be used to.

To keep their youngest workers engaged, managers are therefore having to consider ways in which they can make data available in real-time, without the need for prior authorisation. These efforts are leading to something of a self-service revolution within workplaces across the country, and widespread implementation of the BI tools that can make that possible.

In layman’s terms, data sharing within company landscapes is quickly shifting from a pull to push focus, and the future of BI is altering to keep up with that demand. Now, metrics should typically come complete with alerts and easy-to-draw correlations that can be seen by every member of a team where appropriate, not just higher management.

This freedom allows millennials to really utilise their IT knowledge and makes room for everything from data blending to advanced analytics, without patronising IT handholding at any stage.

Collaborative focuses

Along roughly the same lines, millennials are also increasingly driving companies towards collaborative focuses where business intelligence tools are concerned. This is, after all, a generation that’s grown up sharing everything from their most personal thoughts to what they had for dinner online. And, this caring and sharing attitude is making significant leaps into data analytics processes.

Up until now, far too many businesses have operated using data silos across departments. This has led to stilted data understanding, entirely missed metric variables, and limited, top-down decision making. None of which has helped analytics efforts to get off the ground the way we might like.

With millennials now at the helm, though, all that looks set to change. While some inter-departmental limitations are still inevitable due to GDPR and other such regulations, young employees are increasingly highlighting the importance of centralised systems that collect data across departments at all times.

As well as allowing for easier inter-departmental collaborations, this shift towards sharing makes it easier than ever for BI software to highlight cross-business correlations. That in itself can lead to a more comprehensive data understanding for business-wide goals and performance tracking moving forward.

Problem-solving prowess

Problem-solving is never easy within modern workplaces, especially where data analytics are concerned. Even with the best BI software and insights to hand, an older workforce simply won’t be able to draw all the conclusions necessary to boost performance in a modern market.

By comparison, millennials have grown up understanding things like data and information influxes. They’ve had the net at their fingertips all this time, after all, and that’s led them to problem-solving prowess that previous generations can only dream of.

Of course, automated and artificial intelligence-led systems are fantastic for drawing conclusions and solving problems of their own, but they still rely a great deal on informed human input. As such, millennials are also driving data analytics and their long-term use in this sense.

By providing young employees with comprehensive and relevant datasets at all times, managers are therefore finding that even problems that seem tough to crack become a walk in the park. This ability, paired with the progress-tracking capabilities of modern software, can lead to data-led business goals and changes that simply wouldn’t be possible if millennials didn’t get a look in.

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Which comes first: The millennial or the BI software?

When it comes down to it, it’s plain to see that millennials and the best BI software are fast becoming a case of the chicken and the egg. In other words, one wouldn’t be half as effective or even possible without the other. And, both operate best when they’re working as a team.

After all, millennials are only able to reach the data-led conclusions they can because they understand so well the insights that the best BI programs can offer. In fact, they’ll likely only even consider your company as an option if you offer solutions like these.

At the same time, business intelligence software can almost exclusively function better with the collaborative focuses and problem solving that millennials continue to bring to the fore. Ultimately, then, managers seeking to stay on top need to consider both bringing millennials on board, and supplying them with the tools they require to thrive.

Only then can companies stand any chance at data analytics that remain at the forefront of their industry without a doubt. And, only then can they always utilise any incoming information to the best of their abilities at any given time.

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