Insights from data analytics are leading to new revenue streams and new business models. At the same time, analytics are bringing businesses closer than ever to their current customers. It’s also helping businesses find new customers. Data analytics is continuing to evolve and continuing to bring new opportunities to light.
Here, we will look at 3 data analytics trends to watch in 2017, focusing on the benefits those trends can deliver to you and your business.
Most of us have a general idea that analytics tools are valuable to our business. We might, however, be at a loss if someone asked us to demonstrate that value. Surprisingly, even data analytics professionals often grapple with that same challenge.
This is because analytics is an inherently complex discipline. Complex algorithms transform large stores of data into insights on which you can act. Those algorithms are not necessarily pleasing to the eye, nor are the raw results you get after running the algorithms.
Why has this barrier to understanding arisen? Data analytics are evolving rapidly, and some areas of the discipline are ahead of others. As a result, analytics tools have offered advanced analytical capabilities but only rudimentary ways of presenting the analyses. Look for this to change and for significant advances on the dashboarding side of analytics in 2017.
Making it intuitive to understand abstract algorithmic outputs is what dashboarding does. You can see this in action with the government’s own IT Dashboard. Dashboards help data analysts communicate the valuable insights they uncover. Dashboard solutions do this through a variety of techniques, such as transforming data into two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphs and charts. Easily sharing insights leads to actions that help boost profitability.
If you have been following the news relating to artificial intelligence (AI) lately, you will have heard about some very high-profile advances in AI-related technologies. For example, we've seen recent reports of sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) solutions in both the public and private sectors.
Next, we can look for the progress in various AI technologies such as NLP, machine learning, cognitive computing, and neural networks to begin to converge in 2017.
This is not to say that AI will suddenly spring into being in 2017 and begin solving problems for us. What the technological convergence does portend is that more of the intellectual "grunt-work" required to perform advanced data analytics will fall to machines. These practical applications of AI technologies will make it easier for non-specialists to get basic but valuable insights from data.
This change will free up time that your data analysts and data scientists can spend on expanding analytics boundaries. One such expansion will be in prescriptive analytics. We will look at that trend next.
The third wave in analytics, prescriptive analytics, began to gain traction in 2016. Prescriptive analytics are the natural extension of descriptive analytics and predictive analytics, respectively. However, watch for prescriptive analytics to gain significant ground and to begin delivering significant value in 2017.
What will that value look like for your business? You may see that value in a number of ways, depending on your industry. For example, manufacturing can benefit extensively from prescriptive analytics. This is because prescriptive analytics not only uses data to predict the likely outcomes of actions, but also makes recommendations about actions that will have the optimal desired outcome. In manufacturing environments, that can include recommendations about:
In addition to the financial benefits of helping your business manage costs, increase revenue, and achieve optimum customer satisfaction, prescriptive analytics is making forays into new areas such as human resources. Look for emerging forms of prescriptive analytics that can help you make better staffing decisions based on insights such as which employees will show significant improvements, which will leave the business, and which have the greatest lifetime values.
Between prescriptive analytics, applied AI, and dashboarding, analytics in 2017 will offer a multitude of benefits to your, your employees, your business, and your industry.
If you are interested in taking full advantage of the benefits of these and other trends in data analytics, contact an expert at the IBM Journal today.