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5 hot business intelligence trends that should be on your radar

Current business intelligence trends enable more users to work professionally with data.
Image: © Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

User expectations and company requirements are setting BI trends

To ensure efficient company processes and flexible business models, data needs to be used as a resource and analyzed quickly and meaningfully. As a result, the user experience is increasingly becoming the focus in the development of business development solutions. The main objective here is to facilitate access to an ever larger and more heterogeneous user group and offer the users powerful data analysis tools to support them in corporate decision-making processes.

In addition to the range of features offered, modern business intelligence solutions therefore have to be extremely flexible, mobile, and user-friendly. In this respect, current BI trends are being shaped by the specific needs of companies and the rising expectations of users.

Below, we highlight 5 business intelligence trends that can give you tangible added value when working with data:

#1 Cloud BI and software as a service gaining ground

Even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, cloud services have been one of the major business intelligence trends. Particularly valuable in times of remote working, cloud-based business intelligence solutions make it possible for data and applications to be accessed flexibly and reports shared quickly with various user groups – at any time and from anywhere.

Consequently, innovative software-as-a-service solutions (SaaS), which users can conveniently access via a web browser, are becoming more and more popular. Another plus point: Especially in view of the high innovation speed of BI technologies, by opting for a software-as-a-service solution, you will benefit from much quicker updates and always have access to the latest features without having to invest in a complex IT infrastructure for installation, maintenance, support, etc.

#2 Self-service business intelligence: improving usability for more autonomy

While it used to be the responsibility of qualified specialists to create professional reports, companies today are increasingly demanding easy-to-use BI tools. Self-service business intelligence, which enables users to independently create reports and analyses, is, in itself, not a new BI trend. However, since suitable solutions are no longer just called for in specialized areas, such as the finance department, but rather in as many business areas as possible, it is becoming enormously important for BI providers to continuously improve the user-friendliness of their software.

Accordingly, the acceptance and success of a product is determined by how quickly users can learn to use it, how intuitive it is, and whether it offers a high degree of autonomy. The business intelligence trend is clearly heading toward modern, intelligently supportive BI systems that allow a vast group of users without specific prior knowledge to conduct complex evaluations and analyses of company data.

#3 Data quality management and data governance as key success factors

Data handling and data quality management have become significantly more complex in recent years. The big challenge is not just the fact that the group of users has greatly expanded within companies, but matters are also complicated by an increasing data volume and number of data sources as well as the incorporation of alternative information, such as geodata.

Not only can poorly handled data result in missed sales opportunities for your business, you might also face hefty fines in the worst-case scenario, for example if financial and compliance reports are inaccurate. In this context, the Computing Technology Industry Association released the results of its study on “Trends in Data Management” in February 2020, which revealed that only 25 percent of the surveyed companies felt like they were exactly where they wanted to be with their data management, down from 31 percent in 2015.

These are 5 current business intelligence trends you should keep an eye on.
Image: © NicoElNino / Adobe Stock

In addition to the modernization of existing data architectures in order to cope with the increasing variety of data and applications, the issue of data governance as a key BI trend plays a decisive role in the systematic management of data quality. Now more than ever, reliable data and a working framework for self-service business intelligence are dependent on clear guidelines and precisely defined standards for ensuring the quality, maintenance, protection, and security of data as well as compliance with legislation in an ever more complex environment.

#4 Use of AI as a business intelligence trend for predictive analytics

While the retrospective analysis of data played a predominant role in the BI field in the past, the growing focus today is on the data-based prediction of trends as well as customer actions and behaviors. In particular, AI is used here

  • to analyze historical and current data via machine learning algorithms
  • and to develop highly accurate prediction models for decision-making on the basis of predictive analytics.

Overall, the research and advisory firm Gartner anticipates that around 75 percent of companies will be using AI for operational purposes by as early as 2024. The business intelligence trend toward more proactive analytical approaches for predictive information and trend analyses is also reflected in the technical implementation on the part of software providers. In numerous BI tools on the market today, you can thus already use suitable predictive analytics modules that are integrated in the software solutions to gain predictive insights.

#5 Automation and augmented analytics

The automation of data preparation and large parts of analytical processes is another area in which the use of AI is driving business intelligence trends forward. Among other tasks, augmented analytics tools clean up, transform, consolidate, and select data to identify hidden trends and translate them into recommended actions that are easy to grasp. Besides saving time and boosting efficiency, augmented analytics tools mainly aim to simplify the BI and analytical process, particularly for non-specialists. A concept that is frequently referred to in this context is robotic process automation (RPA), which helps automate simple, repetitive work steps without the need for programming knowledge.

Growing expectations of BI tools

The current business intelligence trends clearly demonstrate that users and their needs are the number one priority. Whether interactive dashboards, predictive analytics, or intuitive self-service: modern BI tools must satisfy the demands of a growing, increasingly diverse group of users who not only have varying levels of prior knowledge, but also have very different goals. Against this backdrop, there is now a vast array of innovative BI tools with varying strengths depending on the application context, required performance scope, and necessary user expertise. Our guide “10 useful business intelligence tools for your company” provides an overview of interesting software solutions.

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