Business intelligence – emerging trends for 2016

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Business intelligence continues to be one of the fastest-moving areas in the enterprise. It is a fluxing landscape, with Big Data, cloud services, predictive analytics and data science continually innovating spaces that feed BI. Not only is the technology moving fast, the techniques used to drive adoption and get value from data are multiplying exponentially. Among these trends are an increasing appetite for more advanced analytics to answer deeper questions, and new approaches for governance of self-service BI.

Given it’s the holidays, I’ve time to reflect on the trends I see emerging in my industry. Through my work at large client sites and information flow I believe the top trends in 2016 for business intelligence will include:

  • Cloud data and cloud analytics will take off
  • Advanced analytics will no longer be just for analysts
  • Visual analytics will become a common language
  • Self-service tools will be more commonplace in the workforce
  • BI will become more affordable

I see users across various organisations becoming more sophisticated. They are expecting more than a few charts on top of their data. They want deeper and more meaningful analytics experience. Many want to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into the data. They want all the data visible to them too, not just pockets, so they can explore further than they’ve gone before without being left with a nagging feeling of ‘I’m missing data’. They want easy-to-use analytic tools at their disposal too, so the journey is not only intuitive, but immersive.

Driven partly by their employees needs, and a competitive edge in their marketplace, I expect more organisations will adopt easy-to-use platforms that let users apply statistics, ask a series of questions, and stay in the flow of their analysis. Over time, these users will gain stronger analytical skills, which will lead to more intuitive business strategies and better informed decisions.

The Cloud too will play an increasing role in enabling people to answer adhoc business questions, as more organisations leverage always-on browser and mobile based analytics and ready-to-go BI-as-a-service offerings. Companies that recognise this as a strategic advantage will begin to support everyday analysts with data, tools and training to help them get the most from their data.

I see the shift from IT-led, system-of-record reporting to pervasive, business-led, self-service analytics happening already. And with monthly, user-based BI pricing getting as low as $10, more SMBs will start using sophisticated BI tools instead of just relying on spreadsheets.

As PC Mag notes, 2015 saw Amazon’s QuickSight and IBM’s Watson Analytics Service enter the BI market, along with major enhancements from Microsoft to its Power BI suite. Oracle and SAP have been in the market for years, and will look to hit back against the newer players with significant investments in revamping their BI offerings. 2016 should also bring a major update from Google for its BigQuery BI platform, and who knows, maybe Apple will even enter the fray!

Want to know who the leading players are in the BI marketplace?

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms


Visit the Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI 2016 web page for an analysis of the players and BI insights.

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