Top 10 Trends in Business Intelligence for 2016

Around this time of the year, we get a little reflective here at Tableau. And reflection isn’t just a way to stay safe when crossing the road on a rainy, dark Seattle day in December. Reflection is how we understand the big winds blowing around in the world of data and analytics.

At Tableau HQ in Seattle, Washington, USA, it’s best to wear reflective gear when crossing the street for coffee this time of year.

The reflection always prompts a discussion that leads to our Top 10 Trends in BI. All of the trends are worth reading. To me, there are two that stand out:

Governance and Self-Service Analytics Become Best Friends

For some old-timers in BI, the IT team and business are the Sharks and the Jets of West Side (Data) Story: forever at odds. But why?

In these modern times, when data has become a strategic and yet overwhelming asset for many companies, IT and business find it more useful to team up. The key here is to establish clear roles. IT is responsible for data strategy, security, governance, and all the other aspects of deploying data securely and at scale. Business is responsible for designing the analysis that gets them the information they need.

When done well, both teams play to their strengths and are happy to leave the other team’s work alone. For example, when was the last time you saw a business user excited about being responsible for data security? They’re more than happy to leave that to their more-qualified colleagues in IT.

Advanced Analytics Is No Longer Just for Analysts

The second trend I’ll highlight also stems from the broadening of data to all corners of an organization. We’re seeing more and more evidence that people want to do deeper analysis. Getting KPIs delivered weekly by email isn’t enough. People are starting to take for granted that they will be able to ask questions using the data generated in their daily work. And many of them are coming up with surprising answers that lead to innovative, bottoms-up improvements to their business.

At the same time, we’re seeing a resurgence in interest from software and service providers of all types in putting charts on top of data. Most of these charts fail to answer anything other than obvious and expected questions. This has been a failure of most charts since they were invented. The difference now is that information workers are more data-literate and have the expectation that they will be able to dig for deeper answers.

Those are just two of the 10 trends. See all of them here:

Which trends speak to you? Have one of your own to add? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #datatrends16.

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