Inside Gartner’s Data and Analytics Predictions for 2017

What does the remainder of 2017 have in store for big data and analytics? Business intelligence research firm Gartner has identified three major trends businesses should keep an eye on.

According to Gartner, forward-thinking companies are already on the path to creating more holistic approaches to big data and analytics that encompass the entire organization from end to end. In fact, research found that 45% of IT professionals claimed new big data and analytics projects were in the “design” and “select” phases at their organizations in 2016.

Good thing, too: Most companies’ data architectures aren’t ready for the future of big data and analytics – yet.

The businesses that are currently working on expanding their BI capabilities understand that, to support an organization centered around business intelligence, IT needs to create an “end-to-end architecture built for agility, scale and experimentation.”

Behind the Evolution

What’s driving all this change? Ted Friedman, Gartner’s vice president, says it’s due to three major data and analytics trends you can expect to see grow in 2017:

  1. Big data and analytics are moving beyond simply reflecting business operations and will begin to drive operations instead.
  2. Businesses will take a holistic approach to big data and analytics with an end-to-end architecture that promotes data management and analytics all the way across the company.
  3. Executives will embrace big data and analytics and make them a major part of business strategy, with analytics professionals taking on new roles that’ll promote business growth.

Preparing For a Changing Workplace

While many organizations are working toward building architecture that supports these trends, data and analytics leaders need to remain proactive in spreading data analytics throughout their company if they want their analytics capabilities to reach their full potential. Gartner notes this means analytic capabilities need to be embedded widely wherever user interactions and processes take place.

Gartner also advises BI users to dive into their new roles: As big data and analytics continue to spread across organizations, professionals trained in these areas will be in high demand. Now is the time to develop technical and professional skills that’ll help usher in these new trends.

According to Friedman, “The opportunities to generate business value from data and analytics are practically infinite. The challenge is how to harness this rapidly expanding landscape — how to target the right opportunities — despite internal constraints such as budgets, governance mandates, skills and culture, and external forces like competition, market dynamics and regulatory and social pressures.”

Having skilled, capable data and analytics professionals on hand will help with analytics adoption – a must for businesses looking to achieve their full BI potential.

Dangerous Pitfalls

Friedman cautions BI professionals about potential pitfalls that come along with the opportunities big data and analytics provide – namely, security risks: “As you start to share more data, analytics and algorithms with partners, devices and other algorithms, you will be exposed to more danger and more challenging environments,” says Friedman.

Data and analytics leaders will need to employ agile information governance, responding to changes quickly and constantly seeking improvement, in order to operate under an end-to-end architecture that’ll be more encompassing than ever before.

Friedman also warns that building and adopting an end-to-end architecture that promotes data management and analytics throughout the company means more entry points: “With increased entry points and opportunities to this ecosystem comes complexity. Even though organizations will seek a new financial discipline to manage and exploit information as an asset, such as infonomics to improve the yield or return on those information investments, increasing complexity for information access, assessing trust, distributed processing and management is a given.”

He advises BI pros to concentrate on how they modernize their organization’s infrastructure to “empower rather than disrupt” their company as it transitions into an information-driven business.

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