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November 21, 2019

Are You Ready for 2020?

By: Keelin McDonell

Top BI trends for the new year

As we close out a year (and decade!) of amazing innovations in business intelligence, it’s time to start thinking about what’s next for BI in 2020. Here are four trends we’re watching as we turn over another year:

1. True Self-Service

For years the BI industry has been talking about the move away from a centralized delivery model, where IT toiled behind the scenes to execute static dashboards for business users to consume. This model was problematic for a number of reasons: fuzzy requirements led to endless iteration and business users were tethered to singular data models. But enabling analysts to become true builders has taken time and evolution of the BI toolkit.

In 2020, however, we expect self-service to finally come to fruition. For one, the demand from the enterprise has never been higher. A recent BARC BI Trend Monitor survey revealed that respondents consider self-service a 7.1 out of 10 priority for their businesses (or, “very important”). Gartner even predicted that “self-service analytics and BI users will produce more analysis than data scientists” within the year.

And, just as importantly, the major players in the BI space are now aggressively building out tools to support such initiatives, such as Blueprint and Data Prep and Data Catalogue at Tableau and Power Query in Power BI.

2. Real-Time Interactivity

Similarly, the breakneck pace of data collection is rapidly pushing BI away from static reports and data models. Business users are demanding an interactive experience with up-to-the-minute updates flowing from databases straight into their dashboards, both on desktop and mobile devices.

To this end, Tableau has recently introduced webhooks, allowing their customers to build automated workflows based on event triggers and push alerts to external tools like Slack or ticketing systems. For its part, Qlik recently rolled out its Associative Big Data Index, allowing users of any skill level to tap directly into large data sets with no staging or prep required.

3. Data Storytelling

Going back to the days of Big Data at the start of the decade, business intelligence has long been focused on efficiently deriving insight from massive amounts of information. The problem, though, was finding the right medium for communicating this insight.

As consumer technology has been swept by the trend towards language as an interface (think Siri or Alexa), so too the language revolution has come to business applications. With Quill, business users no longer have to labor over interpreting dashboards. They can simply read, in plain-English, to understand the key insights. 

Data storytelling is truly revolutionizing BI and making data-driven insights accessible to everyone. 

4. Enterprise-Ready Cloud Infrastructure

Software-as-a-Service has been around for nearly two decades and the word “cloud” might be the most ubiquitous term in technology. So it might surprise some to learn that most large enterprises still largely deploy technology on premises. Security, consistency, and continuity are some of the reasons cited by enterprise IT organizations for this policy. 

However, in 2020 we expect to see this change as BI platforms tighten their relationship with cloud providers to deliver ever more powerful features and scalable service models to their customers. In fact, a recent IDG survey of enterprises revealed that while 53% of deployed applications are currently “non-cloud,” they expect this number to drop to 31% within 18 months.

Tableau, for example, has beefed up its integration with Amazon Web Services, citing customers such as Disney and Capital One. Power BI, meanwhile, continues to tout its easy integration into Azure, pointing to the success of GE Healthcare, Adobe, and Meijer, among others.

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