Future of Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence solutions have become an important tool in enabling companies to make smart, data-driven decisions.
But what’s next for BI?
How will the technology evolve and continue to drive value in a rapidly changing big data world?
Leveraging Unstructured Data
eWeek’s Chris Preimesberger reports at least 80% of all data is unstructured according to IDC and Forrester findings.
Unstructured data includes any information that is not easily categorized, like emails, documents, images, videos, and sounds.
And that can create problems. Most BI tools struggle to handle unstructured data. That means that an overwhelming percentage of data out there remains unanalyzed.
In the near future, technologies will grow to make this information available and actionable. Ideas in development include:
- Hardware architecture consist of groups of community servers which provide the speed needed for parallel processing of massive amounts of unstructured data.
- Analytics applications architecture that can organize and analyze the data where it exists, rather than moving it into a central location.
- A data architecture that is “nonrelational,” or easily scalable, only partly structured, and is not heavily populated. NoSQL databases are one example.
A future where BI can analyze emails for advanced insights is not that distant.
Rise of Prescriptive Analytics
That sci-fi inspired future where machines do all the work and humans watch from the sidelines? It’s not that far off.
In fact, it’s already here. It’s called prescriptive analytics.
It’s the natural progression of predictive analytic tools, which use data from the past to identify trends and make guesses about the future.
Prescriptive analytics take predictive tools a step further by recommending actionable steps for business users based on insights. More than just providing information, prescriptive analytics will tell you what to do with that information.
The term “prescriptive analytics” was first coined in 2003. The product already has use cases in various markets, including healthcare, oil and gas, and retail. And it’s an impact that going to continue to grow.
“Prescriptive analytic solutions that apply BI and Predictive capabilities to such areas as customer intelligence, fraud and asset optimization will become prominent in the future,” says David Marmer, VP Products, BI & Growth Initiatives, IBM Software Group.
Prescriptive tools are being called the next evolution of analytics. Categories include:
- Data mining
- Machine learning
- Game theory
- Decision-analysis methods
One thing that currently limits the scope of prescriptive analytics is unstructured data.
As vendors find more ways to analyze texts, images, and videos – that 80% chunk – prescriptive recommendations will become more accurate and widespread.
Simplifying the User Experience
Simplicity, speed, and ease of access.
Each of these three traits will define the growth of business intelligence into the foreseeable future.
“2015 will see significant progress toward making all data more accessible to the business people who need it, and an empowerment of data teams with new tools to provide these experiences, the result of which will provide the last mile of value out of their data,” Looker CEO Frank Bien says.
Do it Yourself
Software AG vice president John Crupi calls this the “Do Everything Yourself” incarnation of BI.
“As we know DIY is the mantra of dashboard building thanks to Tableau, being able to do soup-to-nuts yourself is really the wave of the future. Especially, when it comes to the millennials.”
Crupi sees the user interface being completely innovated. Soon, users may be building real-time dashboards based on Spark analytics without ever know or caring where the data is actually being processed.
And they’ll be doing it from their iPad.
An improvement in technology, and the passage of time, have made advanced data visualization and data discovery products widely available for the first time.
“Agile” BI, especially platforms relying on in-memory processing, will attain a commanding presence in the marketplace. Platforms which focus on developing speedy insights will soon outstrip their competitors.
Finally, cloud and mobile BI products are letting end-users access their information on-the-go. The cloud BI market is expected to grow to $2.94 billion by 2018, according to Red Cap Group.
“This combination has spurred BI’s departure from the backrooms of IT departments and placed its capabilities in the front offices and pockets of end users, providing an unmatched potential to access insights on-demand from anywhere,” writes Jelani Harper, industry analyst with Dataversity.