5 top trends that will drive business intelligence in 2019

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As I continually probe the industry, I see who is driving innovation and what those innovative advancements look like. As a result, I feel five key trends will emerge in the analytics space in 2019.

1. Automation of Everything

According to Gartner, machines will perform more than 40 percent of data science tasks by 2020. It seems everyone is focused on automation. There’s not a vendor in the Business Intelligence space who’s not thinking about how to automate what they do, which is primarily being driven by a skill shortage in the industry.

Everyone wants to do more with less. So, as a result, we see more and more being automated. You see it in places such as data science, data preparation tools, and the frontend delivery of dashboards.

With this in mind, I predict we’ll see a lot of products coming to the market this next year that feature automation, such as AI for BI.

2. Data Storytelling

We’re seeing the need for a new role that’s emerging, which some are calling the Data Interpreter or Business Data Scientist. Essentially, business users are realizing that the dashboard tools available don’t offer everything they need, such as a narrative or context around the data it delivers. Rather, they need someone who can analyze and interpret the data.

We’re already seeing new startup vendors enter the market to build storytelling tools that tell long-form narratives with data. Similarly, I just recently spoke with a large, global advertising agency that actually built their own internal data storytelling platform because no product existed on the market. It’s evident that there’s a need for data storytelling, and I see this need driving product in the space in 2019.

3. Mobile BI 2.0

Several years ago, mobile BI was the next big thing. People quickly seized the iPhone trend and were excited at the thought of bringing a mobile solution to market. Originally, everyone tried to replicate the desktop experience, but we’ve found that just doesn’t work and hasn’t been very successful.

We’ll see more vendors redesigning and redefining what analytics looks like on a mobile phone versus the desktop. Today, everyone uses multiple devices and wants a different experience on the mobile phone than that of the laptop or desktop.

Mobile BI 2.0 will redefine the entire delivery interface. Oracle has already been working on better ways to deliver analytics on mobile devices, and now it’s time for the rest of the industry to follow suit.

4. Natural Language Querying

We’ve seen many vendors bring a search-type BI to the market, where you type a question and get a result. However, it hasn’t seemed to take off as expected. The real opportunity for natural language querying is through voice.

It comes back to the mobile experience. If an iPhone user is in the car, they can have a hands-free experience by asking Siri a question. Businesses want the convenience of that experience, such as asking their BI application to pull up the company’s numbers for the month. Such an application will make a big difference in the BI space.

Over the next year, I anticipate we’ll see the text search interface disappear and be replaced by voice as vendors rethink mobile delivery.

5. Analytics Everywhere

There’s an overwhelming pressure on the industry to change the way people experience analytics. The dashboard experience is currently designed in a way that each user has to come to a centralized point to consume analytics, but I see that type of user experience being replaced by a different interface.

Vendors will start thinking more about how to disaggregate the product. For example, Looker is embedding analytics in Slack. We’ll see changes in email and mobile interfaces for a more practical way to access data and analysis. Rather than people coming to a BI application, the content will be pushed out to where people want to and need to consume analytics.

This pressure to change the way we experience analytics will drive the market in 2019, and I see these five trends playing a big role.

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