Top 10 Trends For Analytics In 2018

Nic Smith

‘Tis the season for technology predictions! Without further ado, here are my top 10 trends for analytics in 2018:

1. Data gravity will accelerate to the cloud

2018 is shaping up to be the tipping point for cloud analytics with the growth trends of cloud data and applications. The reality for most organizations is the need to operate in a hybrid mode with analytics, data, and applications spread across on-premise and multi-cloud environments. This will require an analytics strategy that has flexibility as the business transitions to cloud.

2. Natural language will usher in a new plateau for ease of use

Natural language will allow users to ask their data a question and receive contextual insight and recommendations without having to understand the underlying data schemas. This will drive new use cases and analytics adoption in areas such as sales, customer service, and human resources.

3. End-to-end cloud analytics will emerge

Cloud-based analytics platforms will emerge to deliver a rich set of analytic capabilities to discover, plan, predict, visualize, prepare, collaborate, model, simulate, and manage, all leveraging a common data logic. The SaaS model provides the business a way to take advantage of continual product innovations in a seamless experience with a common user interface (UX). This will address analytical requirements throughout the organization at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) vs. fragmented solutions causing inconsistencies in analysis and slower responsiveness. Research shows that businesses will see a minimum of 3-5x increase in TCO and an ROI of 171% from using analytics that are designed to work together.

4. Contextual insights will be delivered in the moment

Using machine learning algorithms, business users will take advantage of contextual insight delivered in their applications in the most beneficial moment with relevant context. Customer churn analysis, workforce planning, sales compensation, and supply chain logistics are just a few examples that will benefit from timely insights delivered to users in context within their application workflow.

5. Insight-as-a-service will rise

With the growth of cloud data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning automation, the business will be able to tap into rich insights from data that they don’t own or control. By connecting to advanced data networks, users will access relevant external sources and combine those insights with internal data to offer new digital services to their customers.

6. The spreadsheet sunsets to retirement

For many businesses, it will finally be time to stop using spreadsheets to run their business and eliminate the inaccuracies and inefficiencies of spreadsheets by moving to a cloud-based model where operational plans can be connected to financial plans.

7. Analytics pairings will emerge as the new tech recipe for digital acceleration

It’s not surprising that research shows growth leaders use analytics. But analytics in 2018 will be at an intersection of a growth digital innovation spectrum as the Internet of Things (IoT), sensor, streaming data, machine learning, blockchain, and business data networks combine to deliver accelerated business growth opportunities.

8. Machine learning will be unleashed

The pace and place of automated and AI-assisted technology in decision-making will see rapid growth. Machine learning and AI technology have made significant advancements in just the past six months. This automation will have a profound impact on the use of analytics— uncovering insights in large data volumes, and providing easy access to contextual insights for users. Data scientists will be at the forefront to harness this automation to drive scalable insights into intelligent businesses apps and processes.

9. My insights culture will eat your strategy for lunch

Not only will it be not cool not to have insights to support your decisions; it’ll be a requirement. So adopting an insights-driven culture will be a must. (Luckily, there is help on how to do it.)

10. The new view of the customer will become the main thing

Customer intelligence has become paramount and will go beyond what a business understands and knows about customers to a complete “720-degree view.” Matching customers up with analysis from “digital twins” provides further insights into patterns, which in turn provide organizations with an opportunity to enhance the customer experience.

For more predictions on where technology will take us in 2018, see 8 Predictions For The Internet Of Things In 2018.

This article originally appeared on SAP Analytics.

Nic Smith

About Nic Smith

Nic leads the global product marketing organization for BI and cloud analytics at SAP. A data driven marketing leader, his experience in enterprise and business consumer marketing strategies supports customer innovation and consistently drives growth targets. Nic brings a unique blend of experience in product marketing, storytelling and narrative, field marketing, product management, digital marketing, and customer experience. Nic has a proven record of leading highly effective teams and initiatives that excite and engage audiences. Connect on LinkedIn and on twitter at @nicfish