The Real BI Trends in 2017

The IT industry and the world at large have always been subject to technology and business trends, sometimes undergoing major changes, such as the development of the personal computer, client/server computing and the evolution of the Internet.

Over the last few years, new trends have emerged that have had an enormous influence on how organizations work, interact, communicate, collaborate and protect themselves. Eight IT ‘meta-trends’ influence organizations’ strategies, operations and investments in a wide variety of ways:

  • Digitalization
  • Consumerization
  • Agility
  • Security
  • Analytics
  • Cloud
  • Mobile
  • Artificial Intelligence

These meta-trends can be considered as the main drivers behind a number of important trends either related to the usage of software and technologies for business intelligence/analytics (BI) and data management or to the way BI is organized. They generally shape the future of business intelligence and – more specifically – the BI and data management trends we analyzed.

BARC’s BI Trend Monitor 2017 reflects on the business intelligence and data management trends currently driving the BI market from a user perspective.

In order to obtain useful data for the BI Trend Monitor, we asked almost 2,800 users, consultants and vendors for their views on the most important BI trends. Their responses reveal a comprehensive picture of the future of BI as well as regional, company and industry-specific differences, delivering an up-to-date, objective perspective on the business intelligence market.

Importance of Business Intelligence Trends in 2017 (n=2,772)

The Most (and Least) Important BI Trends in 2017

Data discovery/visualization, self-service BI and data quality/master data management are the three topics BI practitioners identify as the most important trends in their work.

At the other end of the spectrum, data labs/data science, cloud BI and data as a product were voted as the least important of the twenty-one trends covered in BARC’s survey.

This shows that ‘hyped’ topics or initiatives in early-moving companies cannot win a greater mindshare as important business intelligence trends than more mainstream topics like data discovery and self-service BI, or fundamentally important topics that have been around for a while like data quality and master data management.

Importance of BI Trends (Timeline)

Our View on the Results

Overall, there are no significant changes in the ranking of importance of BI trends compared to last year. This is a good indicator that our survey participants are not seeing any major market shifts or disruptions impacting their work.

Data discovery, self-service BI and master data/data quality management are currently the top business intelligence trends. While self-service BI and data discovery increased moderately in importance, master data and data quality management decreased slightly.

Self-service BI has been on organizations’ wish lists for a long time as IT departments struggle to satisfy steadily growing demand from end-users for faster changes and new developments to meet their BI needs. Enabling the business user community through ‘self-service BI’ is a good idea. Data discovery and visualization, as well as predictive analytics, are among the typical functions users want to consume in a self-service mode. However, an agreed data and tool governance framework is paramount to avoid losing control over data.

End-users recognize the need for data quality and master data management and, in our experience, initiatives in this area are often announced with a fanfare before quickly moving down the list of priorities for a variety of reasons. But at least organizations seem to be aware that the best-looking dashboard is worth nothing if there are flaws in the data it is based on. Business intelligence will not work without comprehensive data integration and data quality initiatives, but these have to be backed up with the right level of attention, resources and funding.

In the next few weeks, we will post a series of articles looking at each BI trend in more detail. You will learn how different regions, industries, user types, company sizes and best-in-class companies rate the various trends and how their views have changed since last year. Sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll keep you informed about the latest articles.

BARC BI Trend Monitor 2017

The full study features analyst commentary and user ratings of 21 trends in the BI market

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