The key BI trends of 2021 and beyond

4 August 2021

The key BI trends of 2021 and beyond

Business Intelligence capabilities, processes, and awareness have evolved greatly in recent years. As markets become increasingly competitive, and the margin for error becomes finer than ever before, more and more organisations are realising the power of Business Intelligence and its ability to turn data into actionable insights.

As the list of data structures and size of datasets grow increasingly vast, and as the digital landscape continues to shift and evolve, BI capabilities seem to be constantly developing. Below, we examine the current Business Intelligence trends, as well as how we expect the world of Business Intelligence to unfold in the coming years.

How has BI already developed?

Previously, the Business Intelligence process was siloed, struggling to handle vast amounts of data, and lacking important context needed for valuable insight, with BI processes restricted for those possessing technical expertise. With no clear definition of Business Intelligence, early efforts involved large reports consisting of many lines of data. Due to the divide between decision-makers and analysts caused by a lack of technical skillsets, these reports were also at a high risk of becoming siloed. As a result, critical insights often relied on data that was untrustworthy; or were simply difficult to identify with the reports provided.

However, as BI continues to evolve, the divide between core stakeholders and analysts has lessened, while the defined capabilities of Business Intelligence has greatly accelerated.

Currently, the three emerging trends we expect to see become more of a priority within the Business Intelligence landscape are:

  1. Storytelling within visualisations
  2. Collaboration and global participation in BI efforts
  3. An increase in the capabilities of Business Intelligence tools

Storytelling within visualisations

Data Visualisation is a significant tool for enterprises of any size, allowing teams to easily interact, and engage with, collated data. Presenting data in a visually accessible manner, Data Visualisation allows decision-makers to get closer than ever to the insights necessary. However, as Data Visualisation continues to develop, an emphasis on context has been realised as a necessity.

Why storytelling?

Through storytelling and the introduction of context, decision-makers gain access to deeper insights on a wide range of issues, providing perspective not seen before such as progress against goals, shifts and trends based on past data, and evolving consumer behaviour.

Shifting to visualisations with an emphasis on storytelling will only serve to improve the quality of developed strategy – as they gain access to previously unavailable yet relevant information.

While current Data Visualisation tools are beginning to provide storytelling functionality, we expect this trend to continue evolving – transforming how stakeholders and teams continue to interact with their current visuals.

Collaboration and global participation in the evolution of BI tools

Collaboration is incredibly important as a means to both develop current technologies, remove data silos, and innovate future capabilities based on crowd-resourced requirements and experimentation.

Collaboration within internal teams is also becoming increasingly necessary not just when conducting BI processes, but in concerning data altogether. As data governance procedures continue to grow increasingly specific to maintain compliance with varying data privacy requirements, the need to communicate the role of data and the processes that must be followed when engaging with data throughout an organisation can’t be underestimated.

Another advantage of developing collaboration throughout BI and data-centric processes involves the removal of harmful data silos. As internal teams become more vocal about the data that they are using, as well as where they have sourced it from, organisations will see a reduction of data silos being created due to the shift to a single source of truth.

Collaboration driving the features and tools of BI

As well as removing silos and shaping data governance procedures to maintain compliance, collaboration within BI is also a core tool in developing needed tools and features for users. A core example of this can be seen with the greatly successful Microsoft product: Power BI.

With active forums, community challenges, regular updates, and open-source enhancements to the platform, collaboration has been core to developing Power BI. Moderated by Microsoft, these enhancements may gain the support of the thriving community, before possibly gaining the official approval by Microsoft for integration and development.

We expect to see a greater focus on collaboration within the BI landscape, as communities continue to advance and develop the platforms which they use to realise the full potential of their data.

Optimisation of BI tools themselves

Business Intelligence tools must continue to develop and evolve in an attempt to stay updated with ever-emerging, varying data types and sources. Currently, there are two core areas in which we expect BI tools to continue advancing and improving upon.

Speed of intelligence

With datasets becoming incredibly vast, potentially evolving into billion-row resources, conventional BI tools may struggle to maintain agility and flexibility, having to devote additional time to pre-processing and aggregating collected data.

For enterprises wishing to stay responsive and reactive to the very latest insights and information, current BI offerings may require additional support such as GPU acceleration. As we look to the emerging trends of BI, we are excited to see what the future of flexible and responsive Business Intelligence tools represents.

An emphasis on accessibility and ease of use

Previously, Business Intelligence tools were limited to only those with the technical experience necessary to operate them successfully. This limited many businesses that wished to access greater insights from their data, and created a divide between key stakeholders and analysts.

However, with the creation of tools such as Power BI which focused on ease of use and encouraged experimentation, this dependency on technical expertise is no longer needed. Now, a great number of BI tools are available to use by any member of a team, featuring intuitive controls and responsive dashboards.

As we look to the future of BI tools, we expect to see this emphasis on ease of use and user accessibility increase and develop even further.

Reach empowered Business Intelligence with Datashapa

At DataShapa, we are passionate about the future of Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, with a mission to empower organisations to meet the full potential of their data.

To learn more about how we can help your business reach truly data-driven insights, contact us here, or find out how we have already helped other enterprises improve their BI landscape, read our case studies here.

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