Business Intelligence: Thing of the Past, Route to the Future

By Sudeep Agrawal, VP & Head IT, ReNew Power | Tuesday, 27 July 2021, 04:16 IST

In a world where data has been considered many things, oil and gold among others, the business world has understood that it is more of a lifeline than anything else. Hence, the ability to put data through analytics and draw actionable insights conveyed to a decision-maker in a relatable and relevant format has been a game-changer. While this is, in fact, the definition of business intelligence (BI) today, the term came to life back in 1865. Back then, it was simply a means to bring data together to make a business decision. The definition that was developed close to a hundred years later is more relevant to what we use BI for today.

Across 2020, the business intelligence market was valued at $8.8 billion. It is forecasted to grow over three times in less than a decade. Further, close to 50% of small businesses opt for virtual networks driven by BI tools at the heart of their long-term strategies. It is a direct result of a massive global data spurt as well as an effect of the pandemic that has forced our fellow humans indoors. Nonetheless, it is not without its benefits—more diverse, reliable, and relevant data to build business intelligence and identify its different nuances. That being said, the forecasted growth of the BI industry can be accredited to not only the data deluge but also to innovations and innovators at the vanguard of groundbreaking changes.

With this change in direction, here are the top trends that I believe will set the pace and approach to business intelligence 3.0 this year.

#3 – Innovative Data Quality Management

The quality of data for the efficient functioning of business intelligence, like every other branch of data science, cannot be stressed enough. As it goes through the process of the 6C (my own theory), the data is collected, cleansed, consolidated, coded, converted, and conveyed to key decision-makers. With over 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide, organizations need to amp up their data quality management game to get faster and more scalable results.

#2 – Predictive Analytics and Reporting

Predictive analytics is a feature that has been available to the business world for a while now. It has proven beneficial for business decision-makers and data scientists by helping them take more proactive and preventative actions instead of reactive ones. In the year ahead, the introduction of big data capabilities in data analytics will allow BI tools predict trends in business workflows through the pattern of data available.

#1 – AI-Driven Business Intelligence

It does not come as a surprise that artificial intelligence and machine learning have found their place in nearly every technological vertical and, without doubt, have worked their magic repetitively. However, is it possible for AI/ML to enhance and support their cousin technology, BI? Turns out, it is possible.  

The future of BI lies in the power provided by AI and the automation of several processes that take around 60-80% of manual execution. With automation in the picture, AI/ML can take over several cumbersome activities and add to higher quality output. Some of the possibilities these open include, but are not limited to:

● Automate insight discovery: To a large extent, human involvement is irreplaceable while identifying viable insights. This process can be automated by defining the logic and metrics that define valuable insights. With time, the AI-driven BI will be able to discover insights without human interference.

● Unbiased insights: Self-explanatory as it seems, AI-driven automation can help mitigate errors caused by unilateral decisions, ineffective observations, old-school opinions, and the like. This, in turn, has the potential to reduce or eliminate the risk of data loss and human error.

● Equal and ubiquitous access: With the power of AI/ML, every business user will be able to harness the power of the AI platform in a manner that is tailored to their requirements and localized to their geographic positions.

As we talk about the future and the route to it, one of the most intriguing developments is the arrival of more reliable 3D visualizations for better data-driven storytelling. Although not new in the market, more recent innovations have made it possible to give 3D a new dimension, allowing for a more interactive and engaging experience. With the support of augmented reality and virtual reality, the impact this line of visualization can have on decision-making will only be phenomenal.

It is Time to Stay Prepared

With the changing business landscape and global scenario, it is vital that the organizations of today prepare themselves for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. The first step to this is to recognize that BI cannot merely be considered the last leg of data analytics. Rather, it needs to be at the crux of crafting an effective business strategy. This will ensure quality output with minimal human errors and holistic development of the organizations’ data lifecycle. 

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