Trends Shaping the Future of Business Analytics

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As we welcome the beginning of a new decade, we ponder over not only on possible trends but also trends of past that have taken a backseat. The last ten years made spreadsheets less intimidating and democratized business analytics for everyone. Data analytics no longer demands a sophisticated skillset to explore it, but a rudimentary understanding of concepts to make measurable inroads into any problem statement.

Interestingly, the last few years also saw many popular tools playing second-fiddle to more emerging tools. Although we are yet to see the full potential of Alteryx, KNIME and others, Python and Tableau have attained near cult status for the time being. But I digress. I do not wish to mull in the past. Instead, let us keep an eye on emerging trends. This article may very well be the first in the anthology of trends to look out for in 2020. The first trend that we will be looking into is Mobile BI. For most like me, the impact of visualization went up a notch when Power BI mobile was available for download. The key driving factors enabling the growth of Mobile BI is
availability and accessibility. Before we proceed further, we must understand that this is no walk in the park. A few keys point to consider here as follows;

1. Developing and maintaining a mobile app requires a dedicated team of resources working on user experience (UX) and complying with web standards like XML and HTML5.
2. Balancing the functionality between the native app and mobile
3. Data security and privacy concerns.
4. There has to be a significant incentive to turn some power users into evangelists to bring in more users to the platform and sustain it.

This is evident in the BI survey conducted by bi-survey.com. Mobile BI scored a dull 5.1 out of 10, based on the responses of 2865 respondents. Mobile BI even slipped to the fifteenth position from twelfth (in 2017). Does this imply that Mobile BI is a fad than an upward trend? This slump is attributed to not addressing the points mentioned above.

Organizations are looking for ways to enable its stakeholders to get access to insights and be agile in their decision-making. While conventional training continues to be focussed on the native tools, business heads expect analysts to be able to smoothly transition to mobile tools without much hassle. A strong desire to build a data-driven culture is expected to be a catalyst that will aid in the growth of Mobile BI becoming more mainstream.

Considering all the trials and tribulations faced by Mobile BI, what makes is viable in the coming days? Mobile BI market was valued at USD 4.08 billion in 2016 to USD 11.13 billion in 2021 and is expected to register a CAGR of 22.2%. Combine this with the growing attitude of organizations that are longer asking “What is a BI tool?”, but “Which BI tool is best suited for us?”. The need for on-demand access to business-critical data remains unsatiated.

A study by MarketsandMarkets titled Global Forecast to 2021, attributes the rise of the mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP), the budding trend of bringing your device (BYOD) and rapid advancement of mobile features. However, measuring ROI and data security need to be reinforced.

The end game for Mobile BI remains hopeful. The opportunity to access real-time data and thus increase in efficiency in business processes continue to dwarf the challenges posed in designing and maintaining the platform.