It is the question on everyone’s lips at the beginning of 2017; what can we expect from BI this year?

Well, there’s never a dull moment in this field; technology develops, perceptions shift, best practices change, and the playing field reshuffles itself entirely. With this in mind, it is safe to expect more BI fireworks in 2017.

Let’s have a look at some of these predictions in more detail…

Major Growth

To begin with, we can all raise a glass to good health and good cheer, as it looks like Business Intelligence is going to be going from strength to strength in 2017. Organizations in a variety of global markets are planning major investment in their Business Intelligence strategies this year. Over the pond in the UK, over three quarters of small to medium sized enterprises are planning a major analytics or data project this year.

Where there is investment, there is research; and where there is research, there is innovation. This means that we can expect some exciting steps forward this year, as organizations stumble over themselves to stay on the cutting edge of the discipline.

Data Diversity Is the Order of the Day

In order to keep ahead of the curve, businesses in 2017 are turning their attentions to a variety of different sources from which to draw their data. After all, why limit your insight when we are practically adrift in a sea of data and understanding?

If you can find a way to connect it to an analytics platform, it is a data source. This means, businesses now have the technology to measure just about everything. Need qualitative data from customer reviews? No problem. Want customer behavior data from a physical product itself? It’s yours. Looking for information on which of your competitors your churned customers have moved on to? Right here.

The fact is, you cannot get too much data, and the greater variety of sources you have for that data, the more comprehensive the understanding you can gain from it. This is why datasets and sources will be becoming increasingly diverse in 2017.

Real Time Collaboration via Data

As technology accelerates previously time-consuming processes, we are becoming increasingly impatient. What we were perhaps happy to leave for a day or even a week a few years ago, we now want instantly, without delay.

It is this culture of speedy insight that has lead us to this precarious position, in which false news proliferates and people spout basically any nonsense that comes into their heads, quietly back tracking on it later. Accuracy has fallen into second place behind timeliness.

Let’s hope that 2017 is the year that the tide turns and accuracy makes a resurgence. I am optimistic that it will be, thanks to an increasing focus on developing collaborative analytic structures. This means that remote teams will be able to communicate with one another using the data itself, providing instant support and evidence for the ideas being transmitted.

With any luck, the news media will catch on to this one, too!

Unity in the Ranks

The scope of Business Intelligence has exploded in recent years. What used to involve deriving limited insights from relatively small datasets has now become something much more comprehensive and – I’m sure you’ll agree – far more exciting.

However, this has led to a fractured landscape. Businesses now utilize a variety of different BI tools, and apply these tools to datasets stored in numerous different locations. This data is, as we have seen, mined from a far broader field of sources than ever before, and the number of data sources that business owners can draw upon continues to grow.

Something has got to give here. We can’t just keep pouring extra pressure onto such a heterogeneous system; it simply won’t hold. This is why we can expect 2017 to be the year that BI pulls its socks up and introduces a bit of unity back into the ranks.

Cloud structure storage for Big Data, hybrid hosting for data processing tools and applications, centralized control points for data-mining sources; these are all already available to analysts and BI professionals, but we will be seeing a lot more of them in 2017. This is very good news, because, without this unification, BI simply becomes unwieldy and cumbersome.

Artificial Intelligence

The intelligent systems are marching on and on in 2017, not just in the field of BI, but everywhere. AI is one of the most exciting fields in modern technology, and every month brings a new breakthrough for us to marvel at.

However, we are here to discuss the application of artificial intelligence in BI, so let’s stick with that. To put it simply, artificial intelligence has developed greatly in recent years, and now has the capability to efficiently model and examine future growth projections.

This is of massive benefit to business – not to mention a source of concern for data analysts anxious about their jobs. Accurate business predictions are the Holy Grail for business intelligence strategies. With the development of AI, we are getting closer and closer to being able to guarantee that.

Bolstered Defenses

Defense, security and peace of mind; this year, businesses will hope to achieve all three, as data storage structures develop increasingly sophisticated means of keeping out ‘bad dudes’. After some pretty serious and costly data breaches in recent times, it is no surprise that business owners are going to great lengths to keep their data and other resources safe from cyber criminals.

As cyber criminals get more ingenious, so must the people who are designing the security systems. In 2017, we will be seeing the application of artificial intelligence in these security structures through automated tools such as User and Entity Behavior Analytics, or UEBA.

UEBA uses advanced AI technology to actively learn which behaviors on a system are acceptable and which are suspicious. In understanding what the actions of a criminal look like, UEBA can then step in to prevent a potential breach.

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