It’s pretty hard to work your regular job and keep up with new stuff that comes up at the same time.
There are only so many hours in the day after all.
However, if you are looking to boost your career in data analytics then you really have to learn about new trends AND figure out how they actually apply to you in your every day job.
Most articles I’ve seen are filled with super boring lists and ZERO real information that will actually help you.
So, did some digging and put together a huge list of the top business analytics trends for you.
In this article, you will learn
- 15 new trends in analytics identified by top industry leaders.
- How you can apply each trend to your career starting today.
- Helpful links and information if you really want to dig in and have no idea where to start.
- Also, you can download a checklist version of this post for future reference.
TREND 1: DIY data analytics
It used to be that you had to get help from the IT department to get started with business analytics. Today you can get started on your own.
“Organizations will continue to transition to easy-to-use, fast, agile, and trusted modern BI&A platforms deployed across the enterprise to create business value from deeper insights into diverse data sources.” – Rita Sallam, BI and Analytics Research Vice President at Gartner (PC Mag)
How you can get started if no one at your company “gets it” Cut through any red tape to get access to data you need to provide the most value for your organization. Be sure to stick to data access and security procedures that are set up for your company. They are likely in place for good reason! New cloud-based analytics services
TREND 2: New cloud-based analytics services
Big companies like Tableau, Microsoft, and Amazon are offering online data analysis tools. New start-ups like Domo, Bime, and Dasheroo are online only.
“Spending on cloud-based BI technology will grow 4.5x faster than spending for on-premises solutions” – Dan Vesset, IDC
How you can try out analytics software before anyone else at your company:
Start asking if your organization could benefit from using cloud-based analytics services. Get permission to demo some free versions as proof of concept to see how it would work for your company in reality.
TREND 3: Custom-built apps and interfaces
Dashboards and reporting platforms will continue to improve to bring highlights and insights to the front.
“There will be self-service information for the masses delivered not through tools but through purpose-built interfaces and apps.” – Dr. Rado Kotorov, Information Builders
How you can make data more meaningful: take an existing dashboard or report and make improvements to help highlight the most important information on the screen.
TREND 4: More powerful visualizations
Traditional reporting showing just the “wall of numbers” which provide no context is slowly dying off. User-friendly tools like Tableau are making it easy to find the story behind the numbers.
“Business analytics will slowly begin to move away from the traditional compliance reporting involving rows and columns to visualization snippets in the form of dashboards.” – Chuck Vigeant, Clearify
How to impress your boss with data visualization: Download the demo version of Tableau and create a visualization based on an existing report that identifies some trends or outliers that aren’t obvious in a table format.
If you have an Excel “wall of numbers” report ready to go, follow the instructions from TableauFit to transform it into something better looking
TREND 5: Mobile-ready data analytics
Getting a printout of a PowerPoint deck just isn’t going to cut it in the near future. If something looks strange on a report, people immediately want to see the underlying data without having to wait.
“BI and visualization solutions that don’t support users moving from device to device, often and at speed, will not deliver the kinds of experience people want.” – James Richardson, Business Analytic Strategist at Qlik.
How to create really cool data visualizations on your iPhone: download the mobile versions of popular data analysis tools (like Tableau Mobile) and create a proof of concept dashboard to share with your team.
TREND 6: Better connection points
Enterprise apps, mobile apps, and online apps all need to talk to each other. New tools are making use of these connection points and APIs to make working easier.
“Mobile apps continue to multiply, the need for APIs and cloud connectivity will grow, with an increased emphasis on better developer tools and productivity.” – Mark Palmer, TIBCO Software Inc.
How to get the data from services your company already uses: get familiar with how different services talk to each other and what it would take to make it work for your company. For example, Tableau’s Web Data Connector is the easiest way to get data from pretty much any web page into Tableau. Most services these days use the REST API which is pretty simple to learn.
TREND 7: Data access challenges
“We will see the onset of ‘wars’ over access and usage rights over data, and monopolistic behavior from several companies seeking to restrict the ability of consumers and businesses to manage its free flow.” – Paul Weiskopf, Domo
How to get access to data without getting in trouble: understand the limitations and restrictions your company has when working with data.Make sure you’re complying with the rules but remember that rules can be changed if you can make a strong business case.
New services, devices, and apps are released every single day all over the world. More stuff = more data. There are new opportunities to use that data to gain an advantage for your company and your career.
“BI tools capable of delivering on data from connected devices will thrive, and advanced analytics will not just be for data scientists anymore.” – James Phillips, Microsoft
How the internet of things sounds stupid but can actually be interesting: If you have a phone or Fitbit-type device, there’s a ton of data already being collected about how many steps you take each day.
Download the data and see if there are any interesting tidbits you can pull out. You can also get data from iTunes about the music you listen to, from Google for your search and location history, Netflix history, and Amazon order history.
TREND 9: Cheap business analytics software
In the past, companies had to pay thousands of dollars for complex analytics software that was difficult to use. Companies like TBD and TBD are offering inexpensive alternatives which makes it easier for companies to get started with analytics software.
“With monthly, user-based BI pricing getting as low as $10, more businesses will start using sophisticated BI tools instead of just relying on spreadsheets.” -Raju Vegesna, Zoho
How to find different data analytics software to try: The best way to find trials is through Google. Try “Tableau alternative”, “domo alternative” for example.
Then, run through the free trials of a few different options and make a recommendation to your boss about which would be the best to get started for your company.
TREND 10: More competition and more options
Huge enterprise-ready companies like Amazon and IBM have released new business intelligence software recently, which is a challenge for Oracle and SAP, who have had products for many years.
“Amazon is clearly taking on what it called ‘old-guard’ BI solutions such as IBM Cognos, Oracle OBIEE and SAP BusinessObjects.” – Doug Henschen, ZDNet
How you find out about new business analytics software before anyone else: Set up Google news alerts or IfTTT to stay on top of new business analytics software and packages to see if they might be a good fit for your company.
TREND 11: New options to use your data
Knowing that data exists and how you might be able to use it is super important. However, if you don’t have the tools (or skills) to get at that data, that can be a real challenge.
“Big data and data integration are joined at the hip. Big data will have little use unless the data can migrate from the source to the system.” – David Linthicum, Informatica
How to use “new data” in old ways or “old data” in new ways: Take a look at the top data integration tools and try a few demos to see what might work for your company.
Being able to use new data in existing projects is a very powerful skill to develop.
TREND 12: Easier to develop advanced analytics
Now that business analytics has become 100% necessary in every organization, business leadership teams are looking for deeper insights. Fortunately, there are new tools that make finding these insights and delivering them quickly pretty easy.“Value comes only when the insights gained from the analysis are put to action to drive improved decisions.” – James Taylor, Smart (Enough) System
How to make sure that your commentary is noticed by your target audience: You have to understand that dropping a chart onto someone’s desk with a few bullet points isn’t really providing a lot of value anymore.
You have to take it to the next level by adding context and insights. Take the time to dig into the cause behind fluctuations and outliers you see in the data.
TREND 13: More people are relying on analytics
Lots of organizations are developing analytics centers of excellence. Basically, these groups help get everyone up to speed on how to use data in a more meaningful way.
“We set up this analytics center of excellence in sales, finance, and marketing to drive consistency and connections of all our data. Now we can take all this information from various platforms, put it in one place, analyze it and make real-time decisions“. – Karen Quintos, CMO, Dell
How to lead the charge and get everyone thinking the way you do about data: Get involved in the conversations about data in your company.
Even if it’s just a small team of people at first, getting in sync with other data analysts around the organization will help every move ahead together.
TREND 14: People are thinking “data first”
Until now, data would be locked up in a system of record and be pretty difficult to get out. But…guess what? Product managers and developers are building systems and using techniques to liberate the data and make it easier to analyze.
“For auto insurance, we can measure driving habits and study typical weather patterns, but the data collection is still relatively primitive. More advanced technology and widespread adoption will allow us to shift to a cost-per-mile model, incorporating real-time weather, congestion, and time-of-day data to give a value to each mile and provide a truly accurate risk assessment for every driver on every trip.” – Saar Yoskovitz, Augury Systems
How to get others thinking about the power of data: If you are a developer or business analyst working on a new app or new software, make sure you think about the data you are collecting and how people may want to use that for business analytics.
TREND 15: It’s now easier to combine data across industries
Access to more and newer types of data can lead to some unexpected possibilities with data analytics. For example, some groups have been able to combine data from the telecom industry and mapping industries to improve deliveries and customer experience.
“One company uses big data and business analytics to find grey charges on users’ credit cards and debit cards by drawing upon billing dispute data from the web, banks, and the CFPB’s open consumer complaint database.” – Data.Gov
How to find data sets that will set you apart from your co-workers: Browse around for some interesting open data sets from data.gov, Amazon, or Google that may be applicable to your company. For example, take consumer complaint information and combine that with your marketing database to see if there are similarities.
You can get ahead in your career as a business analyst without paying any attention to these trends.
But, it’s much easier (and much more fun) if you do.
Want to keep track of how you track against all of these trends? Download the bonus materials below!