If you’re like me, post the holiday break, you’re officially in the 2018 ‘goal setting’ mode. On the professional side, I started by searching on the internet to see which 2018 Analytics, Business Intelligence, and (more recently) Artificial Intelligence predictions were trending! What I found was 20+ google pages of articles from vendors, bloggers, and very questionable sources. It seems like predictions have become a trend!
Sorting to find credible, high-quality predictions were painful. As I took my notes, I decided to turn them into a blog for you to avoid a similar experience. Below you will find a highly vetted list of predictions and a cheatsheet derived from 12 hours of research, summarized into about a 15-minute read. But first, let me explain how the predictions that made it on my list were scored.
This list is completely subjective. Each article is rated based on the following criteria. (Note: I know a few of the authors personally, but this did not play a factor)
Overall Rating – The score is based on the four criteria below which were individually scored then summed up:
- Credibility – This is all about the author and website the article is hosted on, past work etc.
- Quality – Is it real thought leadership, or just a bunch of quotes and/or links? Is it an easy read?
- Accuracy – Are they ‘pie in the sky’ predictions or objective predictions?
- Originality – Copycat syndrome online is very real. The more I read, the more I realized that a lot of articles were rehashing other articles or research papers.
#1 – Innovation Enterprise: Data Analytics Top Trends In 2018
This comes as my #1. It’s an easy read geared towards analytics practitioners and what they need to focus on in 2018. Notable trends are the rise of analytics adoption amongst the SME market, the opportunities and challenges that GDPR present, as well as, the role that external data, NLP* and NLG* will play in analytics going forward. This statement stood out. “If your BI does not mix external and internal data today, you are missing huge opportunities and risk falling behind.” For years I’ve preached, without external data, it’s almost impossible to really explain trends. Now it’s been proven! Very practical. Loved it!
#2 – Forbes: 10 Predictions For AI, Big Data, And Analytics in 2018
While this is one of my top picks, all the credit should really go to Forrester Research. The article is based on their research report: Predictions 2018: The Honeymoom For AI is Over. This read was fun because it quantifies the adoption rate for most of the predictions, making it easier to gauge the impact of the trend. While I thought the data lakes prediction was the most provocative, it’s great to see that the Data Engineer role is trending above data scientists. Insights-as-a-service is also one of the fastest growing cloud services among CIOs and CDOs. Great job on this one!
#3 – Tableau: 2018 Top BI Trends
The cool thing about Tableau’s predictions is that the article has the best user interface in the market, filled with videos and in-line voting. As one of the leading BI software tools, this is one of my favorite annual reads, due to its high quality and factual customer-based predictions. Notable this year is the mention of data storytelling as a highly valued skill set, however, I disagree with them positioning it as a liberal arts skill set. I truly believe anyone who is willing to learn can obtain this skill like I did. Also instead of IoT, they focus on Location of things (LoT). LoT (geographic) data is deemed as one of the most powerful types of data with unlimited usage. This one is packed with information, but it’s worth the entire 20-minute read.
#4 – Enterprise Innovation: Top 6 predictions for data and analytics in 2018
This is one of the more balanced and realistic predictions for most BI folks. David focuses mostly on data, its use and what is required for companies to remain competitive in 2018 and beyond. I especially like where he focuses on Data Storytelling (the focus of my 2018 workshops) as being a key component to users making sense of their data! This is an easy and necessary read.
#5 – Information Age: Data predictions for those who will live them: 2018 in analytics
The subtitle of this article, ‘Data is oil’ got me excited! This one is really for the data enthusiast. It states that as the use of unstructured data becomes easier to gain insights from, more companies will gain ROI from their data lake investments. As with others, it touts the emergence of the CDO (Chief Data Officer) and what success in that role will look like.
#6 – Dataversity: Business Intelligence and Analytics Trends in 2018
This well-balanced post focuses on trends that the author sees as prevalent. Most notable is the mention of AI replacing data scientists. It’s a trend in a lot of these predictions. Also augmented data prep will allow anyone to use machine learning to gain insights, limiting the need for an in-house data scientists. As a former data scientist, I do think the role will change and they need to be ready! The hype is over.
See Full Article by Paramita Ghosh
#7 – SAP: Top 10 Trends for Analytics in 2018
Nic (an old colleague) does a great job of pointing out the major trends that are emerging. Due to the fact that this was my 15th read, there was nothing new to learn here, but I did like his point about insights-as-a-service rising and being the future. That led me to read this article, Insights-as-a Service the Next Big Thing in Analytics, which explained it all. Based on the article, this new service has gone from 17 million in revenue in 2015 to 2.5 billion in 2017 and scheduled to hit 88 billion by 2021. Be sure to keep track of this one!
#8 – ZDNet: Analytics in 2018: AI, IoT and multi-cloud, or bust
This post is a collection of quotes from executives at vendor companies. It highlights some valid points, but not conclusive, as some of the execs contradict each other. Its mention of the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) on May 25, and who will be targeted was no surprise. However, the need for a multi-cloud strategy was most intriguing! Most companies have multiple cloud platforms that sit alone. Going forward they will be seeking platforms that have some level of integration. I personally see the rise of an enterprise IFFFT or Zapier application of some sort that is fully secure, but make all these tasks easy breezy!
#9 – Digitalist: Eight Predictions for IoT in 2018
Though this article is focused on the Internet of Things, it was worth including as it dives into what IoT will become. Plus I’ve known Tom for a while and he’s the real deal. I like that it provides links to support what he is predicting. It basically covers the role IoT will play, both from a consumer and IT perspective. This one is a quick read!
#10 – Silicon Angle: Wikibon’s 2018 data analytics predictions: It’s all about AI
Delivering predictions from three different analysts, this article lives up to its name of being all about AI. It’s a bit in the weeds, so I had to look up some of the ‘industry’ words such as RPA. The article is ballsy in the sense of how it sees AI significantly reducing the roles of data scientists in the future. It mentions microservices and how AI will become more mainstream in applications. Good read, but pull your AI dictionary out!
Here is a list of terms to keep track of in the data space in 2018. (I highly recommend you research and start to understand these topics if you are in this space). Consider this your 2018 data trend cheatsheet! You’re welcome. 🙂
- Data Storytelling – According to Tableau and multiple studies this is being deemed as one of the highest value skillsets in the analytics world outside of data engineers. So much so, that analyst or BI practitioners who lack this ability will be left behind. If you want to avoid this check out one of our upcoming visual storytelling workshops!
- Insights-as-a service (IaaS)- This new, but super hot trend is a service in the cloud that provides insights and specific actions based on blending internal and external data to explain trends. This is deemed as the future of big data and cloud services and some companies are starting their own IaaS COE’s!
- Augmented Analytics / Augmented Data Prep – According to a recent Gartner report Published on July 27, 2017, Augmented analytics and data prep is the future of analytics and something to keep an eye on! Combined, both give business users access to sophisticated ML algorithms without the need for a data scientist. Coupled with NLP (see below) this is being deemed as the future. BI folks, this will also change your job role. So pay attention!
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – We all knew at some point the government would crack down on how our data was being shared. Well Data Armageddon, also known as the General Data Protection Regular scheduled to start on May 25, literally has corporations pissing in their pants. Get ready to watch the data warehousing and cloud security space completely change. Many predict the government will make examples out of the big social sites, but that’s only the beginning. If you’re a data warehouse specialist, make this one of your top priorities in 2018.
- Chatbots – Sweeping the retail market, and replacing customer service reps at alarming speeds, this new trend of AI-driven chatbots is on fire. Expect to see this spread across other industries and may even make it into your favorite app or BI tool!
- CDO (Chief Data Officer) – Unlike CIOs, they are in charge of ensuring companies gain measurable value from their data. Most CDOs report to the CEO. Gartner predicted that by 2020 90% of companies will have one as data continues to be King.
- Data Engineer – Forget data scientist! This new job role is being cited as the hottest job role in 2018. Data engineers may not know AI but they can use the new augmented tools to understand and help companies gain true value from it.
- Multi-Cloud – Refers to companies having multiple cloud products at once, that do not integrate with each other. A solid multi-cloud strategy is a hot topic and needed as a result.
- NLP / NLG – Natural Language Process and Natural Language Generation are being deemed as the hottest trend in analytics. Instead of trying to understand charts and reports, executives and busy decision-makers will be able to read or listen to explanations of their data while viewing it. Gartner predicted that over 90% of applications will have this in some form within the next 2 years!
- LoT (Location of Things) – Is an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that differentiates itself by the inclusion of accurate location data. It’s heavily used in the retail space, but quickly expanding to other industries.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this post. I learned a lot and I’m beyond excited to share it with you. It’s clear that AI, particularly augmentation, will change the face of business intelligence. I’ll do another post on places BI folks can go to elevate their skillsets to support these rising needs.
I’d love to hear from you. Which one of these predictions do you find the most interesting? Which ones do you find unrealistic?