Predictions for 2015: Analytics here, analytics there, analytics everywhere

In a recent article in which she laid out a few predictions of the her own, my colleague and noted big data industry expert Joanna Schloss made the astute observation that in many ways, 2014 was the calm before the storm for big data. After years of industry hype, organizations finally dove head-on into the work of re-architecting their IT infrastructure to better align with the new big data landscape, with many standing up new big data platforms and aggressively investing in modern data integration solutions. That work, while both substantial and critical, merely represents the start of the process – a means to an end, if you will. The real entre comes in the form of turning all of that data into actionable insights that help organizations make smarter business decisions.

A set of six dice with the words: certain, equally likely, likely, unlikely, highly, unlikely and impossible

2015 – The Year of Analytics

That’s why 2015 is poised to be the year of analytics. It’s the year we turn the corner in terms of our understanding of what “business intelligence” really means. Using data to figure out what’s happened in the past simply isn’t enough. Gaining insight into what’s going to happen in the future – and what your business should do about it – is now paramount. Predictive analytics will no longer been seen as the domain of mathematicians discretely running backroom calculations, but instead as a mainstream practice vital to the business stakeholders across sales, marketing, development, compliance, manufacturing, finance, and even HR.

In addition to advanced analytics becoming both unavoidable and irreplaceable, here are a few other analytics-related trends I expect to see unfold in 2015:

Real-time, all the time

Ok, maybe things won’t progress quite that far, but real-time analytics will surely emerge as a major theme throughout 2015. Let’s face it – the need to process and analyze data in real-time is a challenge that everyone faces. It’s also one to which there is no single, broadly accepted industry solution. Any time those factors line up (big industry need, no great solution), a host of start-ups are sure to follow. I expect we’ll see more than our fair share startups in the real-time analytics space in 2015.

Analytics at the edge

One of the major, direct impacts we can expect to see as a result of the Internet of Things (IoT) is an increased desire on the part of businesses to push analytics out to the vast world of edge devices that create the IoT landscape. Data analysis has traditionally required that data be pulled in from its source and delivered to an analytic platform. But as the sources of data continue to proliferate in the IoT era, that becomes a bigger and bigger challenge. Increasingly, vendors will seek to break the mold and flip the model on its head by delivering analytics out to the data. You can fully expect Dell to be on the leading edge of this movement. 

The privacy battle goes public

The issue of privacy in a big data world is one that the industry as a collective whole has danced around for some time. The guess here is the dance ends in 2015. I expect firm battle lines to be drawn – be it by consumer groups, customer advocates, and perhaps even politicians. Matt Wolken, vice president and GM of information management solutions at Dell Software, wrote a few months back that when it comes to consumer privacy, the onus falls not on the provider of data, but the user of the data. I expect others in all walks of industry to follow his lead and make similar statements in 2015.

Data become ubiquitous

Marketers tend to use, reuse and overuse the term big data analytics. I’m as guilty as anyone, trust me. But I fully expect 2015 to be the year that big data and big data analytics become terms of the past, or at least start to move in that direction.

Remember, it’s not about big data. It’s about all data. The organizations that understand and embrace this concept will be those that succeed.  Of all these predictions, and all the others you’ve likely read over the past month, that’s the one you can take to the bank – literally.

About the Author: John Whittaker