2018 was the year of GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation not only became visible to everyone using the internet and suddenly having to agree to lots of data privacy declarations, cookie consents and opt-in modalities. Even more importantly, GDPR affected businesses and how they handle, delete and store data.

As organizations prepared for the GDPR to be implemented in 2018, data governance was already a trending topic in last year’s edition of the BI Trend Monitor, and it remains among the top trends due to the many remaining open questions regarding the implementation of sustainable data governance, covering topics such as data access, privacy and security but also roles, skills and processes. Although most of the other trends within the IT landscape are not so directly connected to a specific regulation or law, their impact can be equally powerful and decisive for future business success.

BARC’s BI Trend Monitor 2019 focuses on the main drivers within the BI and data management market. Gathering experience from 2,679 participants, we asked users, consultants and vendors to assess the most important BI trends. These trends are compared by industry, regional and company-specific variables and provide insights into the latest developments on the BI market.

With the rising complexity of the business intelligence environment, the identification of trends and market developments is a key factor in effective decision-making. It is increasingly important to use the latest technologies and approaches in order to cope with digitalization and market competition.

The Most (and Least) Important BI Trends in 2019

We asked users, consultants and software vendors of BI and data management technology to give their personal rating of the importance of twenty trending topics that we presented to them.

Data quality/master data managementdata discovery/visualization and self-service BI are the three topics BI practitioners identify as the most important trends in their work.

At the other end of the spectrum, cloud BI/data management,  visual design standards and IoT analytics were voted as the least important of the twenty trends covered in BARC’s survey.

Our View on the Results

The three most important trends remained the same as last year with master data and data quality management in first position, data discovery in second and self-service BI in third. While master data and data quality management builds a strong foundation for handling data, the significance attached to data discovery and self-service BI shows that the empowerment of business users is a consistently strong trend.

This impression is also backed up by the newly introduced and fifth ranked topic “establishing a data-driven culture”, which depends on greater inclusion of various business departments (aside from IT). Data governance, which remains in fourth position is still seen as an important trend. Here, again, GDPR comes into play. Although data governance covers a much wider spectrum than ‘just’ providing data protection, the rising significance of data governance can also be traced back to an increase in data security awareness.

The lack of interest in IoT analytics, which features in last place in its debut year in the BI Trend Monitor, leads to the assumption that businesses are neither prepared nor really focused on implementing this special kind of analytics at the moment. With IoT itself just emerging in importance, it will probably take some time before the potential added value of IoT analytics begins to unfold.

Trends that have clearly increased in importance compared to last year include agile BI development and advanced analytics and analytics teams. While agile BI development is connected to a revolutionized cooperative approach between lines of business and IT, advanced analytics expresses the need for businesses to use data in a more beneficial way. Also, advanced analytics includes machine learning, which is tightly interconnected to many hyped use cases in the sphere of artificial intelligence.

Conversely, topics decreasing in importance include real-time analytics and mobile BI. It seems that the perceived practical benefit of these trends has not become as obvious as expected to most BI practitioners yet. Either their current tools and systems are not able to provide these kinds of application, or priorities have changed and other trends have become more appealing.

In the next few weeks and months, we will post and update a series of articles looking at each BI trend in more detail. You will learn how different regions, industries, user types, company sizes and best-in-class companies rate the various trends and how their views have changed since last year. Sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll keep you informed about the latest articles.

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