Recently, I watched a documentary on the History Channel about Nostradamus, a 16th century French apothecary and reputed seer, who could predict the future of nations and kings. Nostradamus is best known for his predictions of the Great Fire of London, the rise of Napoleon, and Adolf Hitler. Although, we do not all possess Nostradamus’ gift of sight, we do have resources (that Nostradamus did not) to help us make predictions such as the all-seeing oracle we call “the internet.” That being said, I scoured the internet for information to help me forge my business intelligence predictions for 2015. Below are predictions 1 through 10:
1. Business intelligence helps the sick
One thing that we have seen this year and will overflow into 2015 is business intelligence becoming more active in social responsibility, particularly healthcare. The huge amounts of data being collected by hospitals, clinics, and labs will be used to streamline and enhance the interactions between medical facilities and people. This will allow doctors and patients to have data-driven connections much earlier than when traditional preventative systems usual begin. Electronic health records are already being collected, but we’ll see progress in three specific areas: more compatibility between these different data stores, better integration with new analytics platforms specializing in health outcomes, and better integration between consumer-grade fitness apps and serious medical applications.
2. Business intelligence for the common folk
BI will evolve from being a business analytics and operational performance reporting tool to an everyday function for individuals. We are already seeing this in its early stages as we use business intelligence to avoid traffic jams, track the whereabouts of our pets, monitor our own personal health, or assist us in playing sports such as with golf GPS watches. We are living in a great time where BI will extend into the worlds of the common people and become woven into the fabric of our lives impacting the decisions we make.
3. More royal marriages between BI and social media
In 2014, we saw more organizations analyzing the data coming from social channels such as Twitter. Tracking conversations and social cues can help companies understand how their customers feel about them. We saw one of the biggest mergers this year between two large companies in their respective fields of social media and hardware; Twitter and IBM. This was a monumental marriage that we will certainly remember years from now. I predict this year we will see other social media and business intelligence companies following suit.
4. Mobile BI changes the way merchants do business
Mobile BI is not completely new to us because it’s been around since the emergence of smartphones and tablets. It’s really not quite as smart as we hoped it would be by now because for the most part, many mobile BI applications will give us great dashboards and visualization tools, but there is a need for much, much more. This year solutions companies will focus on making Mobile BI more advanced and giving it the ability to handle complex analysis with larger data sets and data variety while on the move.
5. Data mining will become a fundamental application capability
Data mining will be sprinkled into a lot of modern BI applications in clever ways, hiding all the complexities but keeping the enormous value. It’s something we have become accustomed to with companies such as Netflix adding suggestions features to help us make decisions such as “we are recommending this movie because you watched so and so…” Access to those advanced algorithms will become an integral and common part of the analytic tool set available to the average user. What’s more, applications will find clever ways to make use of advanced data mining algorithms.
6. Hadoop is not yet the standard for enterprise data warehouses
We’ve been waiting for Hadoop to become the industry standard for data warehousing. Many pundits predicted that this would have happened by now. While many still believe that this will occur 5 years or so down the road, there are a few realities that have slowed down Hadoop’s conquering of the data warehouse world. First, there are limitations in MapReduce, a standard piece of Hadoop processing. When using MapReduce the data is not available for use immediately. Secondly, Hadoop requires a fair amount of manual coding to there’s going to be a learning curve for average IT folks who don’t know languages such as Java, R, and Hive. Hadoop is also mainly used by companies with large data warehouses who have numerous data scientists so it’s not quite ubiquitous or as mainstream as one might think.
7. More companies move to cloud-based data warehouse storage
More companies will store their data in cloud-based data warehouses. The main factor for this is because it provides a powerhouse combination of capabilities that you simply cannot replicate in-house. Here are some of the capabilities that make storing data in the cloud a no brainer. 1) A data warehouse-optimized column store database 2) A variety of storage options ranging from hard disk drives for huge data sets to solid state drives for blazing performance 3) The ability to instantly spool capacity up and down 4) Inherent backup and restore 5) Low cost. I believe that in 2015, moving to cloud-based DW will be a trend for many enterprises. Clearly, IBM and HP believe the same because in 2014, they invested billions into developing cloud data centers.
8. The year of self-service BI
2015 will be a big year for self-service BI. Many BI solutions providers made it a point this year to increase their features and functionalities to accommodate this shift. In addition, companies are also shifting their marketing message to highlight “ease of use” or “for business managers.” This is a response to an actual need as users want to bypass the IT department to get their data faster so that they can deliver value to the company in less time. Minor changes to spreadsheets or dashboards can be done without submitting proposals and cutting red tape. The past year was an adjustment period for IT to hand over this responsibility to business units but we will see this in full force in 2015.
9. Data volume and data variety will grow
Data will get bigger. That’s a fact. Companies are not throwing out data to make room for more. Storage is more affordable and historical data is very valuable. The variety of data that is being collected is becoming more complex because data is becoming more available from a number of sources such as government, ioT, and Social Media. Much of this data is unstructured and collected in a wide range of formats and will require innovative methods of storage, integration, analytics, and reporting.
10. Robots and drones need data to make better decisions
You may be only be familiar with drones from watching recent war movies such as The Hurt Locker, where they are depicted as military tools used to diffuse bombs or scan dangerous areas. Actually, drones will be implemented more commonly in very non-military scenarios. These devices both on land and air will be more involved in activities ranging from package delivery to emergency fire rescue. Drones depend on one key thing: a bi-directional data feed to allow humans to see the situation and control the drone to react to it. Connecting to a smart node to offload data for analysis and receive instructions on what to do next will be a crucial factor for the success or failure of these systems. We will see more use of drones and robots in 2015, thus creating a need for more business intelligence in these arenas.
Click here for business intelligence predictions 11 through 20.