10 reasons to be excited about data analytics in 2017

Founder, Impact Analytix, LLC

We live in an exciting time of accelerated innovation and heightened global competition, full of unprecedented levels of opportunity for analytics professionals. The exponential growth of data and intelligent things in an environment of ubiquitous Internet connectivity is enabling a fourth industrial revolution—digital business transformation.

Information is vital to evolving digital businesses because analytics touches everyone. Indeed, in the modern business environment every business is in the business of analytics. What, then, should we expect to see in the analytics industry as we head into 2017? Here are my top 10 predictions:  

  1. computing technologies such as IBM Watson progress from successful early adoption into early majority. In 2016, we saw cognitive, deep learning and natural language technologies take on increasingly prominent roles in businesses while capturing news headlines around the world. In 2017, this strategic analytics technology will become a must-have in analytics roadmaps.
  2. Embedded analytics continues to retain the top spot in self-service analytics technology growth. The years leading up to 2017 have seen an analytics-based cultural shift toward data-driven decision making. Accordingly, we have seen a growing need for bringing analytics closer to the user—in the app, when and where decisions are made. In 2017, we will see cognitive, predictive and prescriptive analytics increasingly being embedded into line-of-business apps.
  3. Cloud and hybrid analytics continue growing in 2017, even in historically cloud-unfriendly markets. Infrastructure in our increasingly connected world is getting better and is almost invisible in mature markets. Cloud fears are expected to ease as more organizations witness the triumphs of early adopters. Compelling transfer of data security risks to modern cloud providers will bring executives peace of mind. Instant, easy cloud solutions  continue to win the hearts and minds of users. Finally, the cloud will accelerate time to market, allowing innovation at faster speeds than ever before.
  4. Intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) use expands in 2017 from innovators to early adopters. Digital devices will become ever more pervasive, delivering the power of cognitive-enabled systems to homes and offices as well as throughout the external world.
  5. Streaming analytics and data ingestion technologies are adopted in conjunction with the Internet of Things to import, monitor and understand in real time what is happening. Predictive algorithms will detect exceptions and provide proactive alerts about notable changes in data patterns.
  6. Real-time analytics become a necessity in 2017 as digital transformation alters and disrupts business models. In our interconnected omnichannel digital world, real-time analytics is no longer just for financial and stock market enthusiasts. Marketing, sales, operations, support and many other areas of the business that use smart mobile devices will expect insights in real time, when and where they need information. Long gone will be the days of batch reporting.
  7. Big data analytics need not worry about a spotlight shift in 2017 as this sector continues evolving from a niche market into a mainstream technology. As organizations increasingly require the ability to store and investigate oceans of data arriving in a variety of formats on divergent timetables, big data analytics capabilities will become integrated in modern business intelligence, analytics and data science tools.
  8. Monetizing data is expected to be a hot topic in 2017. Organizations already appreciate the value of data internally—after all, apps are complimentary because data is digital gold. The next step is maximizing the economic benefit of that collected data externally together with customers, partners and suppliers. The ability to derive value from data will become integral to strategy in the digital business ecosystem.
  9. Data security and privacy remain essential topics in the analytics industry. Along with conversations about how to maximize the value of data externally, we expect to hear escalated concerns in 2017 about the proper handling of data from legal and ethical perspectives. High-profile, on-premises data breaches have already exposed the risks of using outdated technology, so we will also see attention given to modernization as a way of advancing data security and privacy technologies.
  10. Immersive analytics experiences begin to emerge that offer previously unimaginable ways of interacting with data. Building on virtual and augmented reality capabilities developed in 2016, innovative experiences developed with the aid of capabilities first seen in gaming and other entertainment applications are expected to be brought to many industries. These industries include analytics, architecture, healthcare, industrial design, retail and many other industries in 2017. 

The challenges we face in data analytics are not technology-related but skills-related—for we all have difficulty keeping up with the pace of technological change. Accordingly, be sure to dedicate time each month to keeping your skills updated—you won’t regret doing so. As you do, you’ll be preparing for another fabulous year of digging into data and uncovering incredible insights together with other analytics enthusiasts from all around the world.

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