December 20, 2011 – Big data analytics will top all other areas of growth in analytics during 2012 due to the rapid expansion of social, mobile, location and transaction-based data taken in by various industries, according to predictions from the International Institute for Analytics.

In its annual analytics forecast, IIA and its analysts, including analytics expert Thomas Davenport, slated analytics to follow trends of big data and cloud proliferation in 2012, bringing along a spate of new capabilities and applications. Analysis of big data ranked as the biggest issue in analytics in the coming year, and IIA experts stated that it expects big data analytics to become cheaper and more accessible as vendor offerings for unstructured data, in-memory analytics and data appliances mature. In a related prediction, IIA ranked privacy concerns from analytics with big data as its fourth most notable prediction for 2012, with online browsing behavior and the collection and sale of data to third-party brokers expected to come under more scrutiny.

IIA ranked predictive analytics as its second biggest change for 2012, as more and more enterprises seek predictive competitive capabilities, especially in growing SaaS and cloud offerings, according to Davenport’s presentation of the predictions. Davenport noted that the cloud’s general “uninformed optimism” has been replaced by “informed pessimism” by some, though, in the cloud, predictive analytics has already proven its business worth.

“It was clear from a recent study that those who are experimenting with predictive analytics in the cloud – both deploying predictive analytics in the cloud and using cloud data and resources to develop predictive analytics – are getting positive results. These early adopters were much more likely to see cloud-based predictive analytics as important to their companies and much more likely to adopt them more broadly,” said Davenport.

Coming in at third in its 2012 predictions, IIA put the evolution of performance management applications that merge analytics disciplines with business process engineering, workflow orchestration and social collaboration. The fifth biggest change in analytics in the coming year is a slower demand for analytical talent. However, there will be a special focus on analytics professionals with business and communications skills prior to another expected boost in overall analytics hiring from planned enterprise investments in data warehousing and in-memory solutions, according to Davenport.

In its predictions for this past year, IIA pegged the lack of available, business-focused analytic talent at number five in its predictions. The top prediction by IIA last year was the importance of analytics as a defining competitive advantage in certain industries, a trend that IIA analysts wrote has rung true.
Rounding out the top 10, IIA predictions included:

6)  A marked shift in power and influence from the IT function to the analyst.
7)  The emergence of analytic asset management as a major challenge.
8)  A correlation between the companies advancing their analytic maturity and those executing a complete “analytical ecosystem” strategy.
9)  Mainstream use of methods for text analysis and social media analytics.
10) Increase in analytics applied toward health care patient safety hazards.

A broadcast of the predictions is available to members at IIA’s website.