Business Intelligence

5 Significant Business Intelligence Trends for 2018

Published by and in Business Intelligence

As 2017 comes to an end, business owners everywhere are searching for the “next big thing” in business intelligence that will help them beat out the competition in 2018.

In the upcoming year, there will be new technology that can deliver better and faster data insights, new uses for older BI tools, and a shift in analytics strategy for data crunchers everywhere.

Do you want to find out what’s new, developing, and old hat in the business intelligence world? Take a look at the five business intelligence trends for 2018 that we’ve highlighted below.

Business Intelligence Trends

1. The rise of augmented analytics

What is it?

Imagine being able to submit a verbal query to your data analytics software and not just get pertinent data back, but valuable, strategy-changing recommendations.

Augmented analytics is the combination of several data processes that could ultimately provide you with a simple, actionable, data-driven answer.

Those processes include:

*Research available to Gartner clients only

Why does it matter?

According to Gartner’s VP David Cleary, “Augmented analytics is a particularly strategic growing area that uses machine learning for automating data preparation, insight discovery and insight sharing for a broad range of business users, operational workers, and citizen data scientists.”

Augmented analytics gives your analytics team the gift of time. Traditionally resource-draining and time-intensive analyses can be significantly reduced by using machine-learning and natural-language processing mediated analytics.

What to watch for in 2018:
Watch for large data sets being brought to their knees by citizen data scientists using augmented analytics to reach conclusions at previously unheard of speeds. If you want to remain competitive, you’ll need to leverage your data quicker than your competitors, and augmented analytics is going to be the tool you need to do this. Ask your current BI software provider how they’re going to handle augmented analytics, and if they don’t have an answer, it might be time to switch.

2. Artificial intelligence use skyrockets

What is it?

No, we’re not talking about an omniscient robot that can tell you the answers to all of life’s most burning questions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a while now and has recently become a buzzword that people throw around during business meetings.

For business intelligence, AI means a series of narrowly defined computer processes that help augment data with a specific task in mind. Somewhat erroneously associated with robots, AI provides a learning machine that thinks (hopefully) like a human, which helps unravel some business data mysteries.

Why does it matter?

Your competitors are already looking into AI and adopting it into their analytics programs.

“A recent Gartner survey showed that 59% of organizations are still gathering information to build their AI strategies, while the remainder have already made progress in piloting or adopting AI solutions,” says Gartner’s Cleary.

What to watch for in 2018:
First, an increase in the adoption of AI technology across all business sizes. Second, an increase in the number of App/AI integrations that make tackling BI problems easier.

3. More cloud, less danger

What is it?

By now, anyone in the tech industry should know “the cloud“—which refers to your data stored on someone else’s server.

Why does it matter?

Using the cloud has been a source of worry for business intelligence experts for years, considering the potential cybersecurity risks that off-site cloud storage poses. The good news is that we’ll see some modifications to the typical cloud architectures in 2018 that will lead to fewer cybersecurity risks by providing data storage that is both on and off-site. You’ll get to pick which data you put into the cloud, and which proprietary or sensitive data you want to keep on your company’s servers.

An added bonus to implementing cloud data storage is the increase in speed, scalability, and flexibility. With the cloud becoming a more feasible method of storing large, proprietary data sets, business intelligence experts will be able to provide shrewd business strategies at a faster rate.

What to watch for in 2018:
Wide-spread adoption of hybrid cloud architectures which deliver the best of both worlds: some data in the cloud, and some housed right in your on-site servers. This allows you to keep your proprietary data in-house, while giving you the ability to use the cloud for your mundane data tasks at the same time.

4. More data visualization features means correct data analysis will be more important than before

What is it?

Much more than pretty pictures, data visualizations are depictions of information that summarize and explain complex data to a targeted audience.

Why does it matter?

Many people can make data look good. Few can tell you what data means.

Fewer still can craft clear and concise visualizations that convey the correct message from their data.

“What I see often are people trained on visualization tools, not analysis,” says Johnny Lee, principal and forensic technology national practice leader at Grant Thornton LLP. “What that begets is an unwarranted trust in the underlying data, and [the] belief that the only ‘analysis’ required for such data is to beautify it.”

Consider the following visualization:

Business Intelligence Trends

According to the picture, the growth rate indicates massive growth for Company X.

Consider the growth rate as presented over an altered range:

Business Intelligence Trends

The data is exactly the same in both cases, but distorting the y-axis can lead to different conclusions about what is being presented.

In 2018, more and more business tools are going to provide data visualizations.

Why? Discerning business owners want easy insight into their data.

Don’t let the presence of a data visualizations feature fool you. Pretty charts and graphs can’t stand in for shrewd analysis of the hard data.

What to watch for in 2018:
All that being said, not all data visualizations are bad. At a recent lecture, Edward Tufte, professor emeritus at Yale University and a pioneer in the field of data visualization, summed up the way to create a good data visualization; “Do whatever it takes to get your message across.”That means steer clear of ho-hum bar charts, line graphs, and the evil pie chart in lieu of creating visuals that not only convey the right message to your audience but allow them to interact with you as well.For BI software users, it will be important to look at what the graphs and charts are really telling you about your data. Don’t be fooled by a pretty picture.

5. Modern and accessible business intelligence

What is it?

When you think of business intelligence, do you envision a bunch of data scientists, SQL experts, and systems analysts sitting in their cubicles beating the data into submission?

Throw that visualization out of your head completely in 2018 (and beyond) as business intelligence becomes highly automated and therefore more easily used by citizen data scientists.

Modern business intelligence means less specialization, more automation, and a free-for-all approach to data analytics overall.

Why does it matter?

Modern business intelligence will create streamlined automated processes for getting at the gut of business data. This means an increase in productivity and subsequently, growth in the number of actions related to the data.

“Making data science products easier for citizen data scientists to use will increase vendors’ reach across the enterprise as well as help overcome the skills gap,” says Alexander Linden, research vice president at Gartner. “The key to simplicity is the automation of tasks that are repetitive, manually intensive and don’t require deep data science expertise.”

What to watch for in 2018:
Gartner predicts that 40% of data science tasks will be automated by 2020, and in 2018 you can expect to see the start of this trend.Is the revered data scientist job title going out of style with modern business intelligence? Probably not by 2018.But, according to Linden, by 2020 “fewer data scientists will be needed to do the same amount of work, but every advanced data science project will still require at least one or two data scientists.”

Data scientists better sharpen up other skills on their resume to stay relevant.

What do you think will happen in business intelligence in 2018?

It looks like 2018 will turn out to be a year full of business intelligence innovations and further refinement of some previously existing technologies.

What do you think of these predictions? Is there a trend that should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments below, or let’s discuss these trends further on the Capterra Business Intelligence Twitter account @CapterraBI.

Looking for Business Intelligence software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Business Intelligence software solutions.

About the Authors

Tirena Dingeldein

Tirena Dingeldein

Tirena Dingeldein is a former Lead Emerging Technology and Business Trends Analyst for Capterra.

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe is a former Capterra analyst.


Comment by Kartik Rawal on

It is nice information which i was looking for. It is important to take a step back and really think about the type of business intelligence strategy that will suit your enterprise the best.

Comment by Sharon smith on

According to industry experts, BI solutions are becoming critical tools for all businesses. There are 3 key BI trends that every business owner should consider i.e., gaining control over your data, prioritizing data security and securing market position. check out the following article which clearly explains about business intelligence trends

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