Happy New Year! Welcome to the Age of Analytics. Intelligence powered by algorithms is the center of our digital universe. Advanced analytics, machine learning-powered, autonomous business processes, intelligent things (IoT), natural language and conversational “bot” interfaces will all be mega-hot in 2017. What else is happening? Check out Industry Pulse.

Industry Pulse Winter 2017

Industry Pulse Winter 2017For the Winter 2017 issue of Industry Pulse magazine, I covered top technology trends to monitor, analytics trends, cool startups, cloud and other analytics industry topics. I reviewed a new solution offering for unifying analytics platforms called Perspective ILM BI Portal. A special overview of IBM cognitive computing offerings includes a technical look at how IBM Watson Explorer works. For gadget fans, a peer of mine introduces IoT analytics. Lastly while still in the holiday spirit, I shared Python essentials, good reads and fabulously free data science finds. I hope you enjoy this seasonal update.

Looking Forward

Several peers recently asked what I am doing these days. Although I am still waiting for my non-compete to expire in March 2017, I absolutely love covering the entire analytics industry again for my own little company. This past year I have been incredibly fortunate to be invited to work with amazing peers and respected industry vendors. I have been learning a wide variety of technologies, researching, reviewing solutions, writing, developing creative content, digging into data and presenting at industry events. In 2017, I plan to continue on that path, collaborate with other writers and cover much more industry news across various channels. More to come on that soon…

My Annual Industry Predictions

I can honestly say that my fun BI Wars – Star Wars theme prediction article last year that forecast “when a giant like Microsoft wakes up from on-premises hibernation, it will not go unnoticed” indeed has come true. I never expected that Tableau stock would drop as much as it did the following month or that Qlik would go private to restructure. I knew competition was going to intensify but oh my…what a crazy year.

What will this industry look like in five years? My big bet is that mega-vendors will dominate – Amazon will vastly improve. The other solutions like Athena are already pretty awesome. Google will finally get in the BI / analytics game. IBM Watson Analytics will be compelling. I need to share my findings on that solution soon. We will see solutions like Salesforce Einstein in many verticals. Automation, artificial intelligence and embedded will be pervasive in our everyday lives.

To keep up with tradition, here is a quick summary of my annual predictions. They were also highlighted on IBM’s site last month.

  1. Cognitive computing technologies 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.