As pointed out by Oracle Big Data and Analytics Vice President Neil Mendelson the other day here in eWEEK, data is now a new form of capital. Ultimately, Mendelson said, information about people, places and things will truly differentiate enterprises.
Accordingly, the more data enterprises store up about their customers, the markets, their competitors and their own organizations, the more opportunity the enterprise will have to obtain insights that will help grow the bottom line. There is great potential power in big data.
The question all enterprises need to ask themselves is this: How are we going to harness all this information, and do it efficiently, so that the IT we use pays us dividends?
2015 may be the year enterprises discover the answer to that question. eWEEK will be a key resource in aiding and abetting this discovery process for lots of businesses.
What types of software will be needed to wring out the truly illuminative facts and figures from volumes of data storage? Enterprises will need a few new-gen tools to do this: Secure storage and backup with encryption, solid and dependable data management, and good data visualization (DV) should all be on that list.
Lots of Vendors From Which to Choose
There's quite a bit of competition in this space. Some of the most interesting independent providers to watch here include Tableau, Advanced Visual Systems, Lucky Sort (now owned by Twitter), MetaLayer, JasperSoft, Pentaho, Infogram, Tibco, Infer, 1010 Data, Qlik and Palantir. The big guys—Salesforce, Google, SAS, IBM, SAP, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Dell, Cisco Systems and EMC—all have their own DV packages, and their market presences and track records are always important considerations.
In this story, we wanted to attempt to determine what the big trends will be in business intelligence and big data in 2015. So eWEEK consulted with James Richardson, a business analytics strategist at Qlik, to put together the following list of predictions for what we expect will be the big trends in the field next year.
The cleverly spelled Qlik is a relevant expert in this field. The company, which makes QlikView, a highly successful business data discovery and visualization platform, was founded in Sweden in 1993 with the goal of solving critical data problems for organizations of all sizes, including the largest global enterprises. About 33,000 customers in 100 countries use QlikView to help them make key business decisions.
Here are key trends Richardson sees for business intelligence using insight from big data in 2015.
"Information activism" is emerging. Inside each organization, users want to be actively engaged with their data; however, they haven't had the technology to do so. By providing users BI solutions that allow true self-service, they move from passively consuming the data to actively using it to glean important information. We live in a world of data—both at a personal and professional level—and people express themselves through the work they do with it.
Data must come from both internal and external sources. Intelligent organizations know that smart decisions come from the use of data, but from where that information comes is what matters. To truly gain context around trends and industry happenings, organizations must look to both internal and external data sources. Simply focusing on their own data and shying away from the accelerating data boom is a mistake. Organizations that use comprehensive solutions to process the information from multiple sources and in multiple views are able to stay ahead of the game.
Real-time interaction with BI will become a requirement. In 2015, BI solutions that excel in reporting but lack analysis via interaction will be a thing of the past. The shift in BI platform requirements, moving from reporting-centric to analysis-centric, means companies will expect to be able to digest and gain insights at a glance. Visualization is key as users need to be able to understand their data in a way that is natural to them, breaking down the barriers between people and their data.
Governed data discovery will become crucial. As data discovery tools spread to more users across the organization, companies must revamp their governance practices to control the chaos. Data governance, when done correctly, can be tailored to meet the organization's specific needs, ensuring the efficient and effective use of data while enabling users to make smarter business decisions.
Data storytelling enables good decisions. When analysis is done in silos, it can be difficult to share findings with others to drive a consensus. BI is no longer about collecting reports; it's about interactive decision-making. Therefore, data storytelling is critical because it allows users to create a compelling narrative of their results to convince team members and executives to take action. Static stories, however, can lead to unanswered questions and the end of a successful meeting. An option to dive into the data to answer questions in real time is key to the report maker's success.
The evolving role of IT is a key factor. In the past, the role of the chief information officer was to oversee infrastructure and ensure that systems were up and running. Now the "I" in CIO has evolved, and it is much more about innovation and information. CIOs now are being looked upon to transform the organization in a more strategic way—not just to attend to IT infrastructure.
The need for speed won't change. The speed of business has accelerated, and IT systems must keep pace. As analytics becomes part of the standard operating procedure, users rely more and more on speed to drive fast and agile business decisions. For example, retailers who once had two major fashion seasons a year are now being pushed to design and distribute new lines each week to keep up with new trends.