Companies that experience ongoing success and long-term profitability typically have deep insight into the numbers and data that work to shape the future of their business. Historically, data mining and analysis have been complex IT endeavors that could only be accomplished through in-depth, and often quite manual, report building.

However, modern Business Intelligence (BI) software has evolved tremendously in the past few years, and is making business data much more accessible, relatable, and usable than ever before. BI is quickly enhancing how businesses can use data analysis to not only look back, but also look forward with more accuracy and confidence.

The evolution of BI software is ongoing and moving rapidly, and here are some of the trends you can expect to see take shape in 2018.

1. Self-service business intelligence tools will move to the company core.

Obtaining vital business intelligence has often required complex data mining and analysis done by an IT professional. Then, after the analyst has compiled all the relevant data, they create a report that shares their results so that company leadership can use those numbers to understand how their company initiatives are performing, and guide their business decisions.

While many companies relied on this process for deeper insight into their business for many years, much of the process was complex and arduous. Using such processes, companies could only look back on their data. Modern BI solutions are quickly transforming into self-service tools that can be used to gain insight into every level of a company, in the past, present, and future. BI software can also be accessed and used by more people in an organization, who use the same data for different reasons, with more speed, ease, and precision.

2. Cloud-based BI software will continue rising in relevance.

As with other business software solutions, cloud-based program adoption for BI is growing steadily each year, and this trend will continue in 2018 and beyond. Cloud-based BI makes it possible to access and analyze your data through intuitive interfaces and create meaningful reports with more ease than ever before.

Additionally, as more devices connect to the internet and operate on cloud-based software, it is also becoming easier for companies to connect their data sources to their BI system so they have comprehensive data across all the important aspects of their company.

3. Business intelligence and analytics will become more collaborative and advanced.

In 2018, BI and analytics will continue to advance and create a collaborative experience as well. This trend is definitely aligned with growing cloud software adoption, because BI tools are more accessible on more levels in a company, and data and reports are easier to share for collaboration.

4. All data will be equally important and accessible.

A company relies on different data and business objects, and BI solutions are now capable of all types of data analysis, from Big Data to reports or information stored in spreadsheets. This means that companies have growing opportunities in how they access, compile, and analyze important business information.

5. Embedded analytics will bring BI to the everyday workflow.

Gathering data and analyzing its meaning or potential within a business is also going to shift in 2018, and make it easier to gather information as part of the everyday workflow through embedded BI tools. This means that companies can embed analytics tools within other business software solutions, such as CRMs, to gain and analyze meaningful data in real time.

6. Improved data discovery, visualization, and natural language interfaces will make BI more accessible and intuitive.

Some of the most important BI trends emerging in 2018 have to do with business data and how it’s compiled and accessed. There will be continuing advancements in data discovery, which encompasses pulling and analyzing historic data as well as using past and present information to predict future business trends and needs within a company as they’re forming.

There will also be great improvements in data visualization, and companies will be able to see data in different configurations and reports on their dashboards to stay updated on real time developments across all levels of business.

BI interfaces are also evolving quickly, and becoming more intuitive and user-friendly with each new software iteration. One of the trends on the horizon in 2017 is adding more natural language to BI interfaces, which will make it easier for businesses to compile and understand their data in even more meaningful manners.

Technological innovations and business advancements work in tandem to drive business success. In 2017, BI software and tools will continue to improve and give companies the ability to analyze the past, present, and future state of their business through robust tools and interfaces designed to enhance business insights.

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