In recent years, organizations have become infused with data, big and small. Organizations that saw the competitive advantage in collecting, storing, and harnessing this data quickly began to innovate quicker than ever before. The old way of approaching business intelligence was fading, and the business and IT sides of companies began collaborating to maximize this new found influence. Since this infusion of data and collaboration with IT and business, trends in the business intelligence industry have become a hot topic.


Industry analyst Business Application Research Center (BARC) has come out with predictions of business intelligence trends to look for in 2017. Their BI Trend Monitor 2017 study highlights and predicts important growth areas and topics in the industry. After surveying nearly 2,800 users, vendors, and consultants, BARC revealed 21 trends we can look forward to this year. The eight meta trends that affect and influence the investments, strategies, and operation of enterprises are:


  • digitalization
  • consumerization
  • security
  • analytics
  • cloud
  • mobile
  • artificial intelligence


These eight meta trends are considered the main drivers behind several important trends related to the use of software and tech for analytics, business intelligence, and data management.


Among the 21 trends, BARC’s top three for 2017 are:

  • data discovery/visualization
  • self-service BI
  • data quality/master data management


According to the survey’s results, data-driven business models and data-based processes are increasingly impacting companies economically. Sascha Alexander, BARC’s director of communication, says, “Only after business data is integrated and stored, and then processed as information, is it possible to create a foundation to analyze and make decisions regarding operational procedures.” Companies are beginning to recognize the increasing economic and strategic value of data and with this recognition also comes the understanding that they will need to develop these factors.


End-users are beginning to recognize the need for quality data and master data management. And with the BI Trend Monitor 2017, we see businesses and organizations are aware that even the best-looking dashboard isn’t worth anything if the data it is based on has some major flaws. Overall, business intelligence won’t work without data quality initiatives and comprehensive data integration backed up with the right amount of resources, attention, and funding.


Additionally, Tableau Software stated in a whitepaper these business trends also include a growing demand for “advanced analytic tools which pose more in-depth questions and the development of new methods to guarantee security in connection with self-service BI.” According to Tableau, “Advanced analytics is no longer just for analysts.” For example, sales departments have become more interested in data analysis with new uses of remote video monitoring and sales analysis along with customer data collection to create better shopping experiences. Cloud data and cloud analytics are also gathering speed and Tableau believes that visualization of this data is near on its way to becoming a “global language.” Especially as we see more and more industries like manufacturing, utilities, telecom, and even transportation begin to invest in cloud and data analysis.


Overall, the use of data to support decision-making is definitely going to be seeing not just changes in its applications but changes in just where it is going to be used. Especially as the accounting and finance departments are under wraps, organizations can begin to apply these new trends and technology to other areas of the business like sales and marketing.