10 Business Intelligence Trends for 2014

Each year, Datasource Consulting LLC reflects upon the business intelligence (BI) and enterprise information management industry and reviews the noteworthy trends. The review is based on collecting information from five sources: Datasource’s customers, industry conferences, articles, social media and software vendors. Scroll through the following slides to read Datasource’s observations of 2013 and its predicted trends for the remainder of 2014.

1. Interest in Big Data and Hadoop Grew

1. Interest in Big Data and Hadoop Grew: According to Datasource, "NewVantage Big Data Executive Survey," a 2013 study of 50 corporations and government agencies, revealed that 91 percent of executives indicated that they have a big data initiative planned or in progress. The surveyed executives indicated that 88 percent intended to spend $1 million or more by 2016 on big data projects. Of those, 50 percent intended to spend $10 million or more by 2016.

2. Momentum Continuing with In-Memory and Desktop Analytics

2. Momentum Continuing with In-Memory and Desktop Analytics: Datasource believes that in-memory analytics will continue to evolve and bridge the divide between business users and data within their enterprise. However, such tools do not address inherent challenges integrating, conforming and cleansing such data. Although Datasource sees a trend toward in-memory databases increasing, it also recognizes that data volumes tend to outpace the growth of memory. Therefore, the firm doesn’t foresee all enterprise data being stored in memory anytime soon. Conversely, Datasource expects that hybrid/temperature-based approaches, where frequently accessed data is stored in memory, while less-critical data is stored on disk, will be more frequently adopted.

3. Master Data Management is Becoming a Competitive Imperative

3. Master Data Management is Becoming a Competitive Imperative: Based on its research, Datasource finds that master data management (MDM) is more important than ever. This rise in importance is as a result of the proliferation of data sources — both onsite and in the cloud — and increasing significance of connecting with customers, fine-tuning products to meet their needs and managing suppliers and vendors. Customer data, in particular, has become more unwieldy than ever as a result of the increase in the number of channels that businesses offer. In addition, social media interactions, sensor data and increasing methods of communication have all driven an increase in the complexity to truly understand unique customers and connect with them in the most appropriate way. Entity resolution in an attempt to achieve the “golden record” has never been more important.

4. Greater Focus Placed on Operational BI

4. Greater Focus Placed on Operational BI: Datasource has observed an increased focus on the reporting and analysis of lower-latency data. As corporate BI programs mature, this is a natural evolution. Using BI to support and enhance operations within a company yields considerable value.

5. Continued Interest in Adopting Agile BI Practices

5. Continued Interest in Adopting Agile BI Practices: Datasource notes that businesses are continuously looking for new ways to implement BI, and are finding that many agile practices (smaller-focused iterations, daily scrum meetings, short sprints, embedded business representatives, prototyping and integrated testing) help accelerate BI projects and bolster communication between business users and IT. Certain technologies are also helping influence this shift.

6. Failed BI Programs and Projects Remain a Formidable Challenge

6. Failed BI Programs and Projects Remain a Formidable Challenge: Implementing successful BI projects is difficult. According to Datasource, achieving success requires a balance of strong business involvement, thorough data analysis, scalable systems and data architectures, strong performing teams, comprehensive program and data governance, established standards and processes, excellent communication and BI-focused project management. In addition, explicit success criteria must be defined and the solution must remain focused on achieving the defined goal.

7. BI in the Cloud Grows and Embraces “Hybrid IT”

7. BI in the Cloud Grows and Embraces “Hybrid IT”: The concept of “hybrid IT” or “hybrid cloud” has recently emerged, where organizations manage some of their IT resources in house but leverage cloud-based solutions for IT needs. Datasource believes that this hybrid approach allows organizations to centrally manage strategic capabilities such as data governance while leveraging the benefits of cloud computing where they produce the greatest benefit (e.g., Salesforce.com). By stepping away from the all-or-nothing approach, organizations are learning to evaluate and measure the benefits of BI in the cloud. Over the next three years, Datasource expects that the trend to push pieces of BI to the cloud (in a hybrid IT fashion) will continue. This trend will continue to increase industry understanding as to which cloud-based BI capabilities are most effective and how they are best integrated into an organization’s environment. It will also help BI cloud vendors to focus their efforts on the most salable solutions.

8. Multiple BI Tools are Here to Stay

8. Multiple BI Tools are Here to Stay: The emergence and acceptance of data discovery tools, along with low-barrier entry to cloud offerings has increased, not reduced, the fragmentation of analytic and reporting tools in the enterprise. Datasource expects this trend to continue for years to come.

9. Data Security is More Important than Ever

9. Data Security is More Important than Ever: Personally identifiable information and sensitive financial and health data is being collected and stored by more organizations than ever. The rate at which such data has increased is astounding, yet only recently has attention been drawn to the impact of such data being collected and stored by companies and government agencies. Recent media attention to the inner workings of the NSA brought about increased awareness of the issues. Data breaches of Target, LivingSocial and Sony have further highlighted the innate challenge that we face to adequately secure data that may be used to harm customers and citizens. The security challenge is exacerbated by the emergence and proliferation of electronic medical record data. Not only the prevalence, but also the sensitivity of data is on the rise.

10. Growing Promise of DW/BI Automation

10. Growing Promise of DW/BI Automation: A variety of DW/BI automation vendors are increasing in prominence in the BI marketplace. Companies such as WhereScape, Kalido and BIReady purport to automate the data warehouse (DW) build process. The goal is to reduce costs while improving the agility (and ultimately user satisfaction) of BI projects.

For More

For More: More details on these 10 trends can be found here.

As these trends evolve into standard practice, experts expect a greater awareness of the value of data.