When business conditions change overnight, we can feel threatened and stressed. What was heartening about this year for Phocas was so many customers took comfort in their data. People from sales to finance found an ally and used their data to understand new customer behavior and how cashflow was holding out on a daily basis. Accurate, consolidated data is an essential part of a digital transformation strategy and one of the trends in our new BI and analytics trends for 2021 eBook.
In 2021, speed will continue to be an important characteristic of successful companies.
For businesses to meet the needs of their customers and adjust to changing landscapes, they will need access to relevant and accurate data. Data will reduce decision-making timeframes and empower more people across the business to make decisions.
Decision-making has often been left to the top-tier levels of management because they were most often the ones with access to the information.
In addition, many complex ERP systems and technical reporting systems require dedicated IT staff who control most data analytics and reporting functions. These specialists become the internal champions for the solutions and the bottlenecks who impact how quickly information flows throughout the organization.
Organizations will be more successful in the future when their frontline workers have access to accurate information and are empowered to make decisions. Providing the information and decentralizing the decision-making will help alleviate overtaxed IT teams, reduce the management burden and dramatically reduce decision-making timeframes.
Trend - Digital transformation must be in your plan
If businesses learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that they need a digital strategy.
Pre-COVID, technology was already making major changes to a variety of industries, disrupting production, challenging boundaries and labor, and redefining how we work. Once the pandemic hit, the slow and steady pace of the technology rollout was replaced with speed and vigor.
The pandemic amplified the trends, putting in motion digital strategies that replace face-to-face and in-person meetings and engagement with online collaboration and work-from-home initiatives.
Data analytics will play a critical role within companies that want to successfully navigate this new normal and execute a sustainable digital transformation. Data is the common thread that connects the entire operation, and for companies to compete effectively and profitably in the post-COVID world, data analytics must be fully embedded in the culture and operations of the business. Companies that want to remain viable must give their leaders and teams access to accurate and timely data so they can respond quickly to the ever-changing landscape.
In 2021, companies with digital transformation plans in action will vastly outpace those without.
Trend - BI and AI combined will give users even more power to use data to make better decisions
According to Gartner, “by the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI, driving a 5x increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures.”
AI scales up the capability of traditional BI solutions by doing much of the “heavy lifting involved in preparing data to be analyzed, such as parsing and scrubbing.”
Raw data is returned ready for business analysis while users of all skill level, particularly those with no data analytics experience, can quickly find answers to questions.
AI can automatically review new data and identify important differences that can initiate actions. For example, when a customer stops buying a product that they frequently purchased in the past, AI can trigger a call to a customer. AI can also identify interesting differences in similar customers, such as what does one customer purchase that another one does not. AI can quickly identify similar customers while also the differences between the customers’ purchasing habits.
In 2021, there will be a greater convergence of BI and AI, providing users with even more power to manipulate and work with data to make better decisions.
Trend - e-Commerce rises again
When we thought e-commerce was getting big, along comes a global event that drives more people to shop online.
The pandemic has had a major impact on the growth in e-commerce while also forcing traditional retail into an even deeper dive.
According to eMarketer, US e-commerce sales will exceed $794 billion in 2020, a 32.4% increase and significantly higher than the 18% predicted earlier in the year.
Most experts agree that the pandemic will have some lasting impacts on how people shop. First, the fall of brick-and-mortar retail as consumers now have fewer places to physically shop. Many stores that closed early during COVID will not reopen.
Second, consumers are getting increasingly more comfortable shopping online. Whereas consumers once wanted to kick the tires, try things on or pick their produce, they are now more likely to take a virtual tour, return things if they don’t fit and let trained shoppers pick out the right fruits and veggies.
For retailers, data analytics will play a critical role to help optimize operations, manage inventory, monitor trends, seasonal demands, and customer buying habits and manage labor and other expenses. As retailers gather more data about their customers, they will be better positioned to deliver a more personalized shopping experience.
Trend- the future is still in the clouds
As we move into 2021 and beyond, companies will need to fully leverage cloud computing to efficiently aggregate data.
While many applications have embraced the cloud, the current digital transformation has escalated the need for more organizations to move more of their information and systems to the cloud. Gartner estimates:
“By 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud.”
For more information on these data and analytics trends download our free eBook Top BI and analytics trends for 2021.