Business intelligence and analytics are increasingly moving to the forefront of everyday decisions that are made in the business world. Leaders and business users in all industries and functions require important information to be available at their fingertips to keep a leg up on the competition. Along with this need has developed a desire for business users to have access to the information more quickly and more directly.
As a result, IT has begun the transition from being the sole developer of BI and analytics solutions to becoming the enabler for business users to engage in business intelligence efforts. A number of tools and capabilities have emerged due to this shift. Let’s take a look at some of the trends that are reshaping the BI and analytics landscape.
Self-Service Analytics are Becoming the Norm
For IT to transition away from acting as a BI and analytics development shop, business users require an ability to form actionable insights from enterprise data on their own. Self-service analytics tools allow business users to complete just about every step of the business intelligence process without much technical knowledge.
Many visual analytics tools include proprietary data connection functions that access the raw data directly rather than requiring additional queries, data scrubbing, or other database programming skills. Multiple disparate data sources can then be joined together without requiring a single line of code. Rather than focusing on SQL development to satisfy business users’ requirements, IT can double down on its efforts to ensure the data warehouses are secure, robust and accurate.
Self-service data visualizations are equally as intuitive as data connections. Business users quite literally drag and drop data attributes and measures into whatever type of visualization suits the task and the software takes care of the rest. Even the data loading and transformation process is moving more and more towards self-service to the point where the entire BI and analytics process will eventually require no technical knowledge whatsoever.
Security and Governance are Included
One of the potential pitfalls of making enterprise data easily accessible is the threat of data making its way into the wrong hands. It is important to choose a BI tool that accesses the data in a secure way and allows for customized data access across the organization. This includes data access authentication, direct connections that eliminate data caching, and easily enforceable group or user-level access.
Collaboration is Key
Business intelligence and reporting no longer needs to exist in a silo. Collaboration is native to many modern BI and analytics tools, allowing users to share visualizations and reports. Rather than extracting data into spreadsheets and emailing reports, users can share actionable intelligence through smart dashboards and visualizations. Team members work together to make key decisions based on BI and analytics findings rather than through independent observations.
Perhaps the most quickly moving BI trend is the embedding of visual analytics into existing applications. Business users can use the same intuitive tools to create visualizations and reports that are inserted into context-specific views. Rather than spending time bouncing back and forth between business applications and BI tools, the two are merged together as one cohesive source of information. With the ability to also connect with and join various data sources, embedded analytics combines the power of traditional BI tools with the flexibility of showing only the information that is needed in the moment.
Data Streaming is no Longer Daunting
Particularly with the advent of the Internet of Things, continuous data streams are flowing like never before. Businesses have access to just about every event that occurs with their products or services at any point in time. Partially with the help of advanced data warehouses like Hadoop and Redshift, data streams can be handled into the billions of records. BI and analytics tools have stepped up their game to connect directly to these streaming data sources without any loss in feature or function. In fact, streaming data today is not unlike streaming our favorite shows through cable or satellite boxes. Users can view multiple streams and with the ability to pause, rewind, fast forward, or otherwise interact with the data as needed.
The Future of Business Intelligence
Of course, the current trends in BI and analytics are so great in number that we wouldn’t be able to touch upon all of them here. The space is also advancing so quickly that today’s trends will soon be an afterthought compared to the next wave of features and abilities. However, what will not change is that business intelligence will eventually be engrained into every single person throughout the business. Self-service analytics will become increasingly the norm and business users will need to adjust to increase their understanding of what the data is telling them. To help with that, BI tools will continue to add capabilities and features to simplify the analytics process, increase security, encourage collaboration, and provide the business users with the recipe for success.
Self-service BI and analytics is at the forefront of Zoomdata’s visual analytics product offering. Click here to learn more!