The word from analysts is that 2016 is the year when the ‘democratization of data across the organization’ is the ultimate objective. That’s according to Forrester Research. And, Gartner focuses heavily on self-service in its business intelligence predictions for the year. They see several trends contributing to what they call ‘governed data discovery’.

The numbers suggest that the market for business intelligence and analytics continues to grow. Gartner predicts a growth rate of 5.2 percent in 2016, taking revenues to $16.9 billion. But, that extra expenditure is not going into traditional IT-led BI platforms, where Gartner sees revenue falling by more than 20 percent.

The year of self-service

Instead, businesses are investing heavily in self-service tools. IDC, for example, sees spending on self-service visual discovery and data preparation tools growing 2.5 times faster than traditional BI solutions. And, to add another element to the mix, the firm believes cloud-based solutions will grow 4.5 times faster than premise systems.

Trends like these are likely to cause considerable challenges and disruption in enterprises and smaller businesses. And, if you factor in the impact of the Internet of Things and the increasing demand for anytime, anywhere mobile access to data, 2016 is going to be a busy year for the BI team.

Agility is key

Gartner believes that analytics are key to success in every size of business and that means organizations must move to BI platforms that are fast, agile and easy to use. This represents a major shift away from the traditional centralized approach with its associated structures, responsibilities, governance and technologies.

To deliver the new self-service environment, the IT department will require new skills, and they will also have to acquire the skills to deal with developments in big data, cloud services, mobile data security and predictive analytics.

While that puts big demands on the IT team, the benefits to the business can be significant. The goal, according to Gartner, is to ‘drive greater business value from deeper insights into diverse data sources.’

Anywhere, anytime access

One of the drivers will be the emergence of analytics tools with more powerful graphics capabilities delivered through browser-based dashboards or as graphic elements on mobile devices. As part of that process, data teams will have to ensure that their reporting tools incorporate responsive design so that they are usable on different devices.

Easy, flexible access will encourage uptake throughout an organization and help ‘democratize data,’ while moving to cloud-based BI solutions will give mobile and remote users greater self-service capabilities. These developments will bring BI capability into departments that have traditionally relied on spreadsheets.

SQL accelerates

Although much of the emphasis in 2016 is on self-service, other trends are likely to influence the shape of analytics for the largest data sets. The combination of Hadoop’s storage capacity and scalability with the speed and flexibility of new SQL query engines is set to give new powers to data analysts.

According to one commentator, the SQL Spark engine can deliver 100 times the data processing performance at one tenth the cost of traditional BI solutions.

New resource demands

The 2016 trends in Business Intelligence will move some roles and responsibilities out of the IT department, but will also demand new skills and resources. To meet these challenges and deliver excellent service to the business, many IT departments are working with BI specialists like Virtual Tech Gurus who can offer expertise in key areas of analytics, cloud services, migration and big data.

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