Data trends that will impact you in 2022

Learn the top five data trends that will impact your business related to artificial intelligence (AI), workforce development, flexible governance, and Data Equity as a framework.

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If the past two years have shown us anything it’s that the ability to quickly transform your business is imperative if you want it to survive. When the pandemic took hold, many organizations had to adjust strategies and adapt to a new world—one that mostly took place online. Because the way we do things has changed forever, and even after the pandemic subsides, there will be no going back to business as usual. Changes to the way we live, connect, communicate, and work has forced every person and organization to become even more digital and data-driven than ever before.

When many organizations transitioned operations online, it came with a huge influx of information because every digital interaction generates valuable data that can provide insights and inform better, faster decision-making in this digital-first world. To navigate the data chaos and make sense of a rapidly-changing landscape, we spoke with experts, customers, and other Tableau leaders to learn what emerging forces continue to evolve how we work, the role data and analytics play, and what this means to the future of our customers, partners, company, and the Tableau Community. 

We identified five data trends that will impact your business this year related to artificial intelligence (AI), workforce development, flexible governance, and Data Ethics as a framework. This is the first time we’ve published a Data Trends report since 2020. Here is a peek into our top trends for this new data-driven landscape in 2022, but you can dig into the full 2022 Data Trends report here

Artificial intelligence 

“AI augments and empowers human expertise. AI solutions will see greater success by reducing friction and helping solve defined business problems.” —Vidya Setlur, Director, Tableau Research

AI and AI-driven technologies have been more center stage in recent years, but this year we will see adoption and new applications advance faster than ever. These advancements are increasingly taking repetitive tasks off people’s plates–and that leaves more sophisticated, creative tasks for people to learn and take on.

While leaders believe that AI is critical to the future of their business, they still face many barriers to advancing its use in their organizations, including scaling AI technologies and reskilling their workforces to focus on more advanced tasks.

In our 2022 Data Trends report, we’ll reveal the most common roadblocks to moving beyond proof of concept to implementing AI. Read our recommendations for what leaders need to look for when investing in these advanced technologies. Additionally, we’ll recommend the best ways to implement an AI strategy that can be scaled across the entire organization.


“Formalizing ethical data and AI use becomes imperative to organizations. Responsible organizations will proactively create ethical use policies, review panels, and more to improve experiences and business outcomes." —Mark Nelson, President & CEO, Tableau

The time to take action with data ethics is here. Responsible organizations will proactively align data and AI efforts with human values. This becomes a requirement for the ethical use of data and mitigating risk. History shows that smart, ethical data-use and do-no-harm policies lead to greater innovation. 

Due to the rapid acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI) adoption and confluence of global issues, there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to ethical data and AI use. Organizations have an opportunity to proactively define how they develop and use data and AI responsibly in this rapidly-evolving digital world. 

Now, more than ever, trust and transparency must drive innovation, growth, and customer relationships, reducing technology’s potential for harming people—including biased facial recognition and discriminatory lending. Leading with ethics and integrity, we’ll see more corporate and government commitment and accountability for ethical, responsible data and AI use. Additionally, learn recommendations on creating a system with intentional human touchpoints and why writing ethical data and AI policies into your organization’s governance reduces risk.

Workforce development

“Competitive organizations recognize that future-proofing the workforce is more than just data skills and tools training. For success in the future of work, organizations expand their definition of data literacy, invest in their people, and double-down on Data Culture.”  —Wendy Turner-Williams, Chief Data Officer, Tableau

The world is increasingly data-driven, creating a global demand for data skills. This leaves no person, company or country behind when it comes to understanding and working with data. Data skills will be necessary for every role, in every sector of the workforce. To meet the growing demand, data literacy will become a required curriculum for classrooms and companies. At a minimum, people will need basic data fluency and analytical skills. 

There are barriers to achieving a data-literate workforce, most notably gaps in between the availability of data literacy programs—both academic and in-house initiatives—and the people who need it. The Data Trends report will address how organizations can close the data skills gap, attract new data-driven talent, and support everyone on their data journeys. 

Flexible governance

“Organizations adopt more inclusive data governance approaches to stay competitive and compliant. Growing recognition of data’s strategic value drives flexible, federated data governance techniques that empower everyone across the organization.”  —Kate Wright, Senior Vice President, Product Development, Tableau 

The drive toward digital transformation has resulted in a data explosion–or data chaos. Organizations must have a strong governance plan in place if they are to successfully use this valuable data as a strategic asset that can help business. Early adopters who set up and embrace flexible data governance techniques will also enjoy the benefits of being compliant and competitive.

Organizations adopting new data governance techniques are driving business transformation–but only if they strike the right balance between empowerment and control.  We’ll share more in the report about how your organization can work toward sharing trusted, real-time data with self-service analytics for all. 

This empowers everyone in the organization and enables innovation along with giving you a competitive advantage–all while staying ahead of new governance and security requirements and practices.

Data equity

"Data becomes the language for people and organizations to be seen, have their issues understood, and engage with institutions intended to serve them.” —Neal Myrick, VP of Social Impact and Global Head, Tableau Foundation 

Data is a powerful resource for change. It can broaden and deepen the reach of advocacy efforts, empower advocates and influence policies for long-term and sustainable solutions to systemic social issues. 

Yet not everyone has benefited equally from the so-called data revolution. Community organizations have not traditionally been empowered with the technology and data resources to hold local governments accountable. Very little data is representative of the individuals and groups it is meant to represent. As a framework, Data Equity can become an approach that ensures data is more inclusive, representative, and effective as an advocacy tool because of the shared sense of ownership it creates with all the stakeholders around the table. But to be effective, any data plan must be created in partnership or consultation with the communities it serves, represents, and supports. 

Fortunately, access to data has expanded and more nonprofits, individuals, and community organizations are using data as a strategic asset, building their own Data Cultures, and empowering their people with data skills. Read on to learn more about how data can become a powerful advocate in the work toward equity.

To dive in and learn more about the thinking, research, and customer stories behind the trends, read the full 2022 Data Trends report. Or sign up for a virtual event to hear experts talk about how these trends will impact 2022 and beyond.