BI Trends

Top BI Trends for 2015 – Part 1

By Mark Lockwood
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Like most companies, January is an opportunity here at Logi Analytics to really take a step back and reflect on where we see the market going in 2015. But in putting together a list of industry trends, we found ourselves not developing a list of features or even “hot” technologies for the next 12 months.

Rather, we feel that the business intelligence (BI) industry is in the middle of drastic transformation. We are at the inflection point, if you will, where the next five years will look very different from the previous five years.

There are a variety of events and macro-level shifts which signal fundamental changes in the BI industry:

  • Traditional vendors are experiencing shrinking revenue – they may continue to own the majority of existing large enterprise deployment, but they suffer from poor customer success, high cost, and low adoption.
  • The rise of newer vendors – those who focus on speed of implementation, lower cost, intuitive self-service, and data discovery.
  • Consolidation in the industry – niche players are getting acquired by larger software entities either to complete gaps in the product portfolio or to be incorporated into existing products.
  • Investment in big data – from VC funding to IPOs, we are seeing a solidifying of players in the big data arena.

In addition, we’re seeing a few socioeconomic and technology shifts that are influencing change in the BI industry.

  • SMAC convergence – social channels have driven exponential data growth, mobile channels have provided broad data access, analytics have helped to monetize data, and the cloud has made storing data cheaper than ever before.
  • Rise of SMBs – growth of cloud and SaaS offerings have lowered the cost of enterprise software: rapid growth of a chronically underserved SMB software market.
  • The Digital Generation / Millennials – as baby boomers move to retirement, the workforce is gradually but meaningfully shifting towards the new digital generation of millennials.
  • Shifting Tech Budgets – we’ve seen that line of business users are driving as much as 50% of tech spend in some markets. Tech users are quickly shifting from IT to the business.

All of the above items are setting the backdrop for the future of BI. So what are the trends that will carry the BI industry forward in 2015?

Here are our top 7:

1. BI Meets UI / UX
2. Analytics for the Mere Mortal
3. Social Curation
4. Big Data is Data
5. BI Outside the Four Walls
6. Embedded Everywhere
7. Disruptive Information Economy

We’ll be going into the first three in detail in this post, and will have a second post that outlines the following four.

#1 BI Meets UI / UX

With the workforce shifting towards millenials, an increasingly influential population is demanding access to data in the same intuitive manner that they’re used to in their consumer lives. We call this the consumerization of analytics and its success or failure is largely dependent on the ability to deliver accessible and intuitive BI tools to business users. A stellar user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is fundamental to delivering accessible and intuitive BI tools.

As the idea of having a monolithic BI tool that only 10% of the organization can operate is quickly becoming obsolete, UI and UX talent will become increasing important to driving adoption with the largest and fastest growing population of BI users, the business.

#2 Analytics for Mere Mortals

For a long time, BI has focused on the technical or analyst user. This user population for these tools represents such as small percentage of the overall workforce. What is going to move the industry forward is an emphasis on the “mere mortal.”

Mere mortals are the ones who prefer to use Microsoft Excel, not because they want to, but because it’s all they know. Our 2014 State of Self-Service BI Report found over three-quarters of business users (non-IT, non-developers, non-business analysts) use spreadsheet software for their information needs. The irony is, however, that spreadsheet software can be rather difficult to use, with pivot tables, HLOOKUPs, VLOOKUPs, even chart creation, and never mind analytics and calculations.

The report found that people want to easily consume and interact with dashboards and reports; they want to analyze data and create their own visualizations; they want to simply construct their own reports and dashboards. If the BI tools cannot provide these capabilities easily, then do mere mortals resort to exporting to spreadsheets. Moving forward, BI tools will provide far greater functionality in more intuitive ways.

#3 Social Curation

Social curation is one of the most efficient and effective mechanisms of determining relevancy across massive data sets. When you look at your Facebook feed, you’re consuming information that a select group of people (your friends) have deemed relevant for one reason or another.

BI tools currently follow a very traditional model of curation – what we call a top-down model – where a user publishes data to others for consumption. In most cases, the relevancy of that information depends on the influence of the person publishing it.

But what if we approached BI in a more collaborative way – from the bottom-up? A way in which users publish insights to a feed and co-workers use tools like voting, favorites, likes, and comments to collectively determine what insights are most relevant based on the strength and popularity of their insights, not their position on the company org chart.

Stay tuned for part two of our BI trends series, where we will outline the next four trends.

For more information, visit our Resource Center for informational downloads on these topics and much more.

Originally published January 14, 2015; updated on November 1st, 2016

About the Author

Mark is the Director of Customer Account Management at Logi Analytics, where he is responsible for customer success, market development, sales enablement and thought leadership. Prior to joining Logi, Mark was a Lead Strategy Associate at the management consulting firm Booz & Company, where he helped create the firm’s first Big Data service offering. Mark earned a dual degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Northwestern University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.