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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Leading Trends in Business Intelligence

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The business world is in a constant state of change. But this is especially true in the world of business intelligence, where many new advances in technology are increasing the rate of disruption. Here are some of the leading trends in business intelligence most worthy of your consideration. 

Proliferation of Artificial Intelligence

It should come as no surprise that the proliferation of artificial intelligence is going to continue being a major trend in business intelligence going forward. No, it’s not just because both have “intelligence” in the name. There are nearly limitless ways AI can be leveraged in order to improve BI platforms. Let’s look at a couple of examples:

  • Preparing data becomes much easier – Thanks to AI, much of the work involved with data preparation, such as blending and determining best-fit models can be done with assistance from AI.
  • Better security – Enhanced security features is one of the top use cases for AI in business applications today. This is especially crucial for organizations that work with sensitive data that could lead to serious liability if compromised. 

Data Democratization and a Culture of Sharing

It’s nearly impossible to have a conversation about the best BI tools today without mentioning data democratization. What is data democratization, exactly? In essence, it’s a way for enterprises to systematically bring analytics capabilities to more of their employees. Where as most organizations traditionally operated in a sort of data oligarchy, or at least aristocracy, democratizing data can lead to an array of positive business outcomes.

For starters, giving more people access to dashboards and BI tools means more elements of an organization can find insights relative to their specific role. No one is going to understand an employee’s workflow better than they do. Empowering individuals to make data-driven decisions can have profoundly positive effects, both for the company and the worker. 

Additionally, data democratization through intuitive, modern BI tools allows for enterprises to develop a data-driven company culture. As noted in a report from McKinsey, accomplishing this is highly desirable because “The fundamental objective in collecting, analyzing, and deploying data is to make better decisions.” When everyone within an organization is on the same page with this, it can be like accelerant on the internal fire driving an organization toward success

Self-Service Analytics

Moving along from the general idea of data democratization, self-service analytics is a concrete example of how his concept can be utilized within an organization. The best BI tools today will likely include some form of self-service analytics, which is basically a way for non-experts to run ad hoc analyses without needing to send a query to an analyst. 

Natural language processing is playing a huge role in facilitating these kinds of tools. Thanks to AI-enhanced applications, users can run their own queries in the same simple way they’d look something up on a search engine. Having this power available to all employees means organizations can greatly reduce the time it takes to make actionable decisions. 

Going Deeper Than Dashboards 

While dashboards are basically the starting place for most BI applications, it’s important for enterprises to go deeper than this. Of course, dashboards are incredibly useful for general, day-to-day information. But what if you need to get more granular with analysis? The ability to seamlessly drill down into data without having to run separate queries is a hugely advantageous feature to modern BI tools. 

Improving Communication Through Data

Even the best data analysis is essentially useless if it can’t be understood by the relevant stakeholders. This is why it’s so important to look for BI tools that make it easier to share insights with the people who need them. There are a few things involved in this. 

First, sharing and embedding needs to be an integral part of your BI tools. Without these things, your enterprise is going to waste countless time trying to communicate ideas that should be seamlessly transmittable. But beyond that, the way information is presented plays a huge role in its comprehension. Find BI tools that optimized visualizations and present opportunities for data storytelling. This will increase the chances that important analysis will impact its audience. 

These are just a few of the biggest leading trends in business intelligence. While there are other things worth considering as well, such as multi-cloud integration, it’s smart to look for these features when weighing the costs and benefits of new BI tools. 

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