The global pandemic significantly accelerated the trend of business intelligence (BI) and analytics implementation. In a short span of time, companies embraced BI. For many BI and analytics became the difference between surviving and closing down in 2020.
With such fundamental changes in the industry, we can expect great shifts in the BI market in the new year. In this article, we take a closer look at major BI trends to look out for.
Trend #1: Further growth of self-service BI
Even before the pandemic, self-service BI tools were making big strides in adoption. As many office jobs are now remote, workers cannot always get immediate help from IT departments. Fortunately, modern self-service BI tools, such as Microsoft Power BI, allow end users analyze their own data and build reports without relying too much on IT.
Furthermore, not all companies can afford to recruit many expensive data scientists in their team. Some of these data scientists can be replaced by end users with training in analytics. Self-service BI tools are easy to use and provide high-level analytics to everyone. This allows people without a solid background in data science use them. We’re expecting to see this trend increase in 2021.
Trend #2: Citizen data analysts
The previous trend will lead to the increase in a number of citizen data analysts. These are a new breed of business users who are adopting BI and analytics tools to make decisions. Citizen analysts may not have all the knowledge of IT staff, but self-service BI tools are incredibly user friendly.
Now instead of employing several expensive data scientists, companies can get by with a small group of IT professionals. They will support a larger group of citizen analysts from different functional departments. This will be a more flexible, interactive, and cheaper option.
Trend # 3: Collaborative BI
Closely related to the previous point is collaborative BI. The most successful businesses are great at communicating between departments and working together. This trend will further increase, as leaders understand that there is the need for stronger collaboration. And this will naturally increase the demand for collaborative BI, which is the use of different software and tools together with BI platforms.
Trend #4: Mobile BI
With everyone using mobile phones this trend is expected to grow in the future. Leaders and decision-makers are always on the go, juggling between a few things. The need for the quick access to key business metrics and dashboards on mobile devices is growing and BI vendors are incorporating the mobile versions into their solutions.
Trend #5: Embedded analytics
The integration of various technological tools is becoming the norm in our daily lives and it’s no exception for BI tools. Embedded analytics helps users to integrate analytical capabilities and data visualizations in other software applications. It brings analytics into regular workflow and business processes. The embedded BI tools, such as KPI cards and other visual graphs, can significantly improve usability, the visual aspect of an application and thus productivity. With the increasing trends in collaborative BI and citizen data scientists, embedded BI will the growing trend for years to come.
Trend #6: Visualization
Although the quality of a data model and its accuracy is important, business leaders and executives really appreciate the value visualizations and storytelling. You may have best analytics, but if you can’t properly show and explain data to leaders and captivate their attention, your data is useless. That is why well-designed visualizations is a must. The Power BI production team, for example, spent many of its updates in 2020 upgrading the visualization part of the tool. The trend of improving visualizations will grow in 2021 as well.
Trend #7: Artificial intelligence
This is probably one of the most important trends that is taking place right now in the BI industry. Traditionally, BI tools were primarily retrospective, looking into the past and analyzing what had happened. The next step was the near real-time analysis. Finally, the next step is and will be peeking into the future.
With the further integration of AI and machine learning algorithms with BI tools, analysts are moving from the past-looking reporting to predictive and proactive analytics. AI is used in many different ways and its overlap with the BI field is growing. That is why this is definitely a trend to keep an eye on in 2021.