Business Intelligence has recently become something of a hot topic, and the value of investments made in this technology has skyrocketed. According to a Gartner press release, the BI market is expected to grow to $22.8 billion by the end of 2020, and the improvements will be visible in four areas: traditional BI, hosted BI, social BI, and mobile BI.

As companies understand that this technology provides the means with which to create new competitive advantages in the market, many of them chose to implement such solutions in their departments to achieve different KPIs. Moreover, towards the end of 2017, specialists started to highlight what we should expect from Business Intelligence in the future. So, what are the most relevant predictions for 2018 and beyond?

1. The rise of Data Analytics and Data-Driven Culture

The sudden growth of Data Analytics in the global business market has been influenced by the growing amount of business data. According to a study conducted by IBM, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. Each day another 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated. In this context, Business Intelligence solutions will be essential for companies of all sizes in all industries. They enable companies to create detailed analysis, which is crucial for making more accurate and data-driven business decisions. This was the most popular objective reported by firms that implemented such solutions. It will be easier than ever to obtain business insights, patterns, and predictions for the future – as the report shows.

According to another Gartner report, the modern Business Intelligence solutions will embrace Artificial Intelligence at some level, which will enhance Data Mining, Data Visualization, and intelligent Self-Service Analytics.

Also, as the importance of data rises, creating a so-called “data culture” has become an essential objective for the future. It is all about giving the end users – especially those without a background in data analytics – the possibility to access query data directly, generate reports, and even draw conclusions from data. The whole process could all be explained with one word: democratization (of data). According to a NewVantage Partners report, 85% of companies included in their study said that they started to create a data-driven culture this year, and are planning to continue with more activities next year. This culture will ensure higher productivity because the IT department will be able to focus on more significant projects, while other units will be able to handle data themselves.

2. Augmented Analytics

BI tools facilitate the discovery of new data and enables companies to prepare and organize data in a manner that facilitates strategic, tactical, and operational activities for future planning. This approach allows the automatization of Business Intelligence functions by using machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural-language processing.

Augmented data discovery has the potential of shifting companies’ analytic maturity, as the fundamental analysis will no longer rely only on data scientists. The trend is going to be huge because it will create faster and better-quality insights. Additionally, the users will spend less time exploring data and generating statistics, instead being able to dedicate their time and attention to implementing the recommendations the BI solution provides.

3. Cloud Business Intelligence

Cloud technology is something anticipated for years and it was a crucial term used to express 2017 BI predictions. Nowadays, companies are shifting their data storage, analytics, and applications online. BI is not an exception.

According to a study conducted by Dresner Advisory Services, almost 80% of the companies included are planning to use cloud-based Business Intelligence solutions in the coming years. This means that BI cloud solutions will continue to be popular next year because the adoption of such options can reduce the total budget of ownership and also help the democratization of data. Many small companies will now be able to implement Business Intelligence solutions, making it easier for their departments to access relevant data. For example, the sales department will have access to the central dashboards at any time and in any location, thereby improving the sales processes.

Moreover, moving to the cloud can improve data security and enable better collaboration inside and outside of the company. Moving away from the traditional limitations imposed by on premise hardware creates the perfect environment for predictive analytics.

4. Collaborative Business Intelligence

Collaborative BI will also be in the spotlight next year. Using collaborative tools to improve the way teams and departments work together and make data-driven decisions is an approach that focuses on solving problems and building communication channels with no limitation when it comes to time or space. In this situation, collaboration will become more mainstream.

Furthermore, by knowing what the other members of the team are working on, and compiling knowledge, organizations will be able to tackle potential issues and gather multiple perspectives on a situation, which is an ideal way to work. This process of sharing insights on projects across the whole enterprise will also encourage transparency, bringing teams closer together and keeping everyone pulling in the same direction.

Another Gartner study projected that by 2020 organizations that offer user access to internal or external data will have twice as much business value from Business Intelligence analytics than those who avoid this technology. Enabling access means shareable dashboards with chat features, which is central to how BI platforms will evolve in the coming years.

Business Intelligence will see many developments in the years to come, and it promises to lead companies into an era where data analytics and the insights provided by them will be the foundation for all business decisions. However, the aspect that will determine the rapid adoption of BI technologies will be accessibility and enabling end users to implement innovation in what they do.

Furthermore, next year, custom Business Intelligence solutions will be preferred by companies that understand the importance of a unique approach, designed according to their requirements. Organizations will adopt solutions that are faster and cheaper than an on premise version that offers their departments autonomy.