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Top-10 BI Trends 2019 Analyzed

Posted on: 23-01-2019 09:26:09970

Last year, in my blog on the Top-10 BI trends of 2018, I referred to an article of BARC (Business Application Research Center) to comment on the Top-10 BI trends of 2018. This year, BARC published its ‘BI Trend Monitor 2019’, which they refer to as the world's largest survey of BI trends. I specifically like this information because it is based on the gathering of the experience from 2,679 participants (about 80% users, 12% consultants and 8% vendors) to assess the most important BI trends. Secondly, also important, they present the results in neat Data Visualization. Here’s their representation of the view on the trends for 2019.


More information on the differences between the versions of the last 4 trend reporting years (2016-2017-2018-2019) can be found in the report you can download here.

Not all of these trends are as important everywhere, as you can read in the full report that contains quotes on the importance of the various trends in different regions in the world.

In general the graph shows that the top 5 is quite stable over the last four years, if you don’t take the newcomer ‘Establishing a data-driven culture’ into account.

I focused on these in my blog last year, to conclude that these are plain common sense. The newcomer stems from the evolution in business, where more and more business and execution decisions are expected to be taken based on the available data instead of just ‘on gut feeling’. People will have to be thought to do this in the proper way, and this both on business side as on IT side.

In the lower priority regions one can find three pretty stable trends (Big data analytics, Data storytelling and Cloud BI / Data management) and two ‘newbies’ (Embedded BI and Advanced analytics / machine learning). Both newbies popped up last year. Very slow growth is expected in Embedded BI. Predictive analytics and data mining are mentioned as two of the most important trends in Advanced analytics by BI decision makers. The larger companies are investing in Machine learning (often mentioned in combination with Artificial Intelligence), Advanced analytics and Big data.

Although these trends are interesting to get to know them better, I would rather have a look at the third category of trends… the trends that are jumping up and down over the years.

When expressed by business users, ‘Agile BI development’ usually means ‘I want flexibility – as a matter of fact, I want my requested report changed faster…”. From an IT point of view, it means ‘using the Agile development methodology’, what (when well applied) speeds-up the development cycles. The expectation that Analytic teams and Data labs will become important is in line with the higher need for information (which is data combined with business knowledge and logic). Converting data into information is a profession, that requires specialists with combined business and IT knowledge, specialists that will be part of the Analytic teams and Data labs and will also have an important task in Big Data analysis.

Downward trends can be caused by the realization that interest is dropping because there aren’t properly working solutions yet, as is the case with Mobile BI. It can also be caused by the fact that companies know now better what to do to get things done, which is the case for using external or open data sources. And it can be because the signaled trend is simply a hype, which (as to me) is the case with Real-time analytics. Real-time can be defined as ‘I want the last second information’ (an interpretation done by many BI IT people), and it can be defined as “I want a new or altered report, and I want it now!” (an interpretation done by many business users). The second group may get their ‘real-time’ when they get the possibility to use self-service business intelligence, for example.

IT innovation budgets are not infinite, so you will probably not be able to jump on each trend train. Focusing heavily on one or more of the Top 6 of the list remains common sense, so if you still have IT innovation budget left, it is wise to focus on the trends that reinforce the first six the most.

Jacques Adriaansen 
Business Improvement Thought Leader

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