Top 5 trends that will shape business intelligence in 2020

Published November 25, 2019   |   

Business intelligence provides the means for companies to make more data-driven decisions. So which trends are going to have the biggest impact on business intelligence in 2020? Companies that capitalize on or get ahead of these trends will be in an increasingly competitive position in 2020 and beyond.

#1 Predictive analytics is finally accessible

For small and large businesses, big data and data-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions have never been more accessible. These are just some of the most impactful DaaS areas shaping how business intelligence is applied today:

  • Marketers can use artificial intelligence to predict how different campaigns and various keyword combinations are likely to perform.
  • Businesses of all kinds, and especially financial companies, use predictive analytics to prevent unauthorized network intrusion and flag other signs of fraud automatically.
  • Supply chains use predictive analytics to gather data from up and down the entire operation and take actions based on estimated consumer demand, potential disruptions, weather, and many other variables.

In 2017, Dresner Advisory Services estimated that 23% of companies were using predictive analytics in their daily operations. They also noted that the figure essentially hadn’t changed from 2016.

There is significant interest in this realm of digital services, but adoption is slow in coming. For companies with a clear vision of how to apply this technology to what they do, this is an important moment.

#2 Companies want new sources of revenue

Companies have found all kinds of ways to use their first-party data to improve operations. They’ve learned to meet demand at critical moments, design better products and connect with their audiences more successfully. In a data-driven economy, these companies can use data to their benefit in other ways, as well — provided they do so ethically.

International Data Corporation makes several predictions about data and the role it will play in the future of business intelligence and business in general. One of their predictions is that, by the year 2020, 90% of large enterprises will make at least some of their earnings from data-as-a-service. IDC notes that this statistic has risen by 50% since 2017.

These earnings can come from selling raw data, providing recommendations and insights, and supplying derived metrics to related or interested parties. For example, one company might have accumulated data that could have bearing on and be of interest to companies in other markets.

As we mentioned before, ethics is important here. In business intelligence, that’s a trend worth watching too.

#3 A new frontier of data regulations

Rooting out Cambridge Analytica was hardly the last we’d seen of unethical companies using data without permission. They’re still around, they’ve just changed their name.

In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation provides a framework for customers to opt-out of data collection and to know what data is being collected on them and why. Companies with data on customers there must respect these rules and provide the associated tools. GDPR also provides the means for regulators to levy fines against non-compliant companies.

There is no similar measure in the United States. However, California and other states are drawing up versions of their own. If a federal law materializes, it will probably only be after a critical mass of states take steps to protect their citizens’ data.

In the meantime, companies have a higher bar when it comes to knowing how their particular state or territory requires the handling of data. It’s becoming prudent to find out which areas have the highest standards. California takes that title in the U.S. as of late 2019. Companies should adapt their business intelligence systems and data handling processes around those.

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) goes into effect in 2020. Among other things, companies doing business there will need to have processes in place to furnish the data they’ve collected on somebody, should that person request it, and also delete the collected data if they’re asked to.

Companies just about everywhere are wise to the fact that data is valuable. But they’re on notice about making sure their analytics systems operate in a transparent and legal way.

#4 Chatbots provide ongoing intelligence

Another prediction from IDC says that by the end of 2019, 90% of consumers will have experience interacting with chatbots (automated customer support bots). There are multiple implications for business intelligence, many of which fall under the so-called “last mile of analytics.”

Chatbots can push time-sensitive information to users and customers. They can also gather real-time information from clients through conversational analytics tools. Thus making it easier to flag and track problems as they emerge. This technology perhaps began with user convenience in mind, but they’ve quickly become a data mobility tool as well.

#5 Globalization requires cooperation and agility

It’s especially important to recognize the impact of globalization when discussing modern business intelligence. For a start, the logistics of transporting anything overseas and across borders is complex. It involves many private and regulatory parties. Wherever possible, companies are using the Internet of Things and business intelligence to automate their logistics and transportation tasks.

Sensors and location-tracking tools can help make route changes on-the-fly when delays arise. Real-time data also comes in handy with some especially sensitive shipments, such as delicate equipment or perishable goods. Having a record of temperature fluctuations or vibratory damage sustained in transit can speed up inspections. And help dispatch replacement goods much more quickly, should the need arise.

Getting smart about business intelligence

This is a taste of what’s changing business intelligence and how the resulting technologies are changing business in turn. If you’re in the small handful of companies we mentioned earlier that are using this to your advantage, you’re well ahead of the curve for 2020.