2018 has been another big year for business intelligence, with a notable rise in the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. As well as reflecting on the last 12 months, now is the time to look forward and consider what might come next.
In this article, we lay out our business intelligence predictions for the year ahead:
- Strategic augmentation automates away data manipulation, unlocking time to derive insights.
- Tactical automation of tools to solve key business problems.
- Continuous intelligence to consistently derive value from all data.
These are trends we expect to grow and significantly impact analytical strategy over the next several years. Now we’ll take a closer look at each prediction, their potential significance, and how they relate to one another.
Businesses are becoming highly complex. Where a team of analysts could once manually prepare and examine all its data, there simply isn’t enough capacity to do that anymore – this is where augmented analytics comes in.
Augmented analytics means automating the data-to-insight-to-action activities which normally consume the time of data analysts. It helps human operators focus their attention on the right place, at the right time, and allows users to add maximum value to analyses.
Strategic augmentation also means creating tools which can forecast into the future to offer users predictive guidance: based on what’s gone before, users will be able to predict at a highly granular level what should follow.
What does this mean for businesses?
Increased automation will mean less time spent on manipulating data and more time extracting insight. Directed where and when to act by machine learning, your team will spend more time doing what they’re best at: deriving meaningful insights which drive your business forward.
Automation today is mostly limited to simple and time-intensive tasks. Looking forward, users will want the ability to deploy automated tactical tools which solve key problems within their business: fraud detection, targeting at-risk customers, and reducing ad spend waste are a few possibilities.
Sounds simple – so why isn’t it everywhere?
To be effective, these tactical tools need access to a data source which is accurate, up-to-date, and validated. Without validation, the results cannot be trusted by the business. Once these hygiene factors have been satisfied, tactical automation will become more widespread and accessible on modern BI platforms.
What does this mean for business?
Once areas of greatest opportunity have been identified with augmented analytics, tactical tools will allow users to automatically take action and double down on profitable areas, or stem losses in revenue. While the gains from such tools may seem intuitive, providers will be under pressure to demonstrate a tangible ROI to their users.
There was a lot of talk in 2018 around “real-time data”. In reality, the definition of “real-time” is different for every business, and reaching true “real-time” can be prohibitively costly. However, regardless of how real-time the data is, users do expect, at the click of a button:
- To see the latest data.
- To know when their data was last updated.
- To know how trustworthy the data is.
Rather than waiting for data to update, users will expect their environment to be augmented and continuous so they can take action at any time. So what does that look like?
As soon as up-to-date data arrives, the system should tell the user what unusual events have taken place – and why. By developing this understanding through machine learning, the system could learn to deploy tactical tools (i.e. prescriptive actions) in certain areas, subject to user approval.
What does this mean for business?
In short, continuous intelligence would allow a system to perform the majority of key tasks on behalf of the user – with increased quality and accuracy over time – without the user surrendering overall control. With continuous intelligence, users will consistently derive value from all data.
The future of business intelligence is both exciting and daunting. On the one hand, there is constant technological innovation which could transform how we work with data. At the same time, for these solutions to be viable, providers must find a way to quantify their impact on key company performance metrics.
We believe strategic augmentation, tactical automation, and continuous intelligence are just 3 of many BI trends which are likely to flourish throughout 2019 and beyond, and we look forward to seeing what else lies round the corner.
To learn about how AVORA leverages machine learning and augmented analytics to generate more valuable insights for our customers, visit our product page.
We recently hosted a WEBINAR on “The evolution of analytics: From BI to AI” – listen here on-demand.