Regardless of whether you’ve been in analytics for a single year or twenty years, keeping on top of the analytics trends is essential. You wouldn’t want to use outdated computers, so why would your analytics tools be any different. Technology trends are rapidly changing, and 2019 is going to be a momentous year in data.
Why Trends Matter
While you know it’s essential to understand how your field is changing, analytics trends may sound a little temporary. You know what your job description is and how to do it, so you wonder why you would need to know about these slight changes. The thing is, your job relies on you knowing what’s next.
Implementing and being aware of technology trends makes you better at your job. Since your job can directly affect the bottom line of where you work, it’s an enormous deal. Good data practices can reduce costs, lead to faster decisions, and suggest new products, just to name a few. Using the trends mean you can do those things faster and impress your boss.
Also, there’s a distinct possibility that what looks like a trend today will change your entire field in the future. While data may not change quickly, it’s morphing into new shapes each year. By adopting early, your company will be ahead of the curve when the trend becomes accepted practice.
Trend 1: Data Quality
Now that there are all kinds of data readily available, it’s time to focus on quality over quantity. You know that data on anything is at your fingertips, but do you know where it comes from and how long it’s been in use?
Ensuring data quality is the next step to streamlining your analytics. This task starts with transparency in how the data collection works. Then it moves into data audits, quality assurance, and lifetime management. It’s a big task, and you may need to develop new processes to manage your data quality effectively.
Substantial amounts of data are a great asset for many companies. However, when it comes to up to the minute analysis, cleaning it up of a large dataset can be a laborious process. This necessity changes the final result though, so you will have to compensate to ensure the data quality.
Trend 2: The Cloud
Cloud computing originally appeared in 1996 but became common after 2006. Recently, you’ve been seeing a lot about software as a service taking over things that used to be done in house. In 2019, you’ll see even more of it.
Not only have many of your applications will move to the cloud, and the storage of data is likely to as well. This will make it both easier and harder to keep your data security. Contract companies typically have strict protocols to protect your data. However, those protocols do sometimes fail.
The flip side is if you pick well, your data will be dispersed in such a way that loss risk is minimal. If all your analytics data is stored on a single site, a catastrophic disaster could set your department back years. Cloud storage minimizes that risk through the disparate server locations.
Trend 3: Privacy
Over the past several years, privacy has appeared all over the news against corporations big and small. You’ve seen it enter legislative chambers and international bodies alike. Now there are things like GDPR that tell you how you have to handle data for a geographic area, and they’re becoming more common. In 2019 and beyond, privacy will become more critical to day to day business operations.
Privacy has become a buzzword in every step of the data analysis process. Consumers have learned about tracking cookies, IP tracking, and more. They still want a personalized experience, but they value their privacy at the same time. This means companies will have to spend more time convincing customers to trust them with the data. Your department will likely be asked for an opinion on that.
Over time, the concerns should even out to a more practical arrangement that’s easier to manage data from. However, right now, it’s imperative not to get it wrong since the fines are hefty.
Trend 4: Embedded Analytics
You’ve gotten used to hooking all kinds of different programs into your analytics software to get numbers. Some of the company software packages may have their own analytics built-in, but it certainly has not been all of them. That is changing in 2019.
As more people realize the significance of analytics, there is more demand. Small and medium businesses are adopting in-depth practices even if they cannot afford to bring a data analyst on permanently. This leads to more software companies doing embedded analytics in their software and creating better sharing capabilities. While you may have workarounds, using these new features can make your job easier.
Trend 5: Data Security
The last couple of decades have seen massive online growth. It’s also seen some massive data breaches through online portals, like the Equifax breach. In 2019, the security of your data will be vital to avoiding your own scandal.
You know a data breach can happen at any point along your data chain, whether it’s on its way from a data bank or being used to personalize consumer experiences. Without security, your data could be challenging to access for months during investigations.
Working with your IT department to handle these threats and support security is essential. Without their help, protocols your department needs will not be universally implemented. Well-intentioned coworkers may access your data in an unsecured fashion, leading to a headache for you. It’s in your best interests to understand how the data you use is secured and what can be done to keep it so.
Trend 6: Collaborative Business Intelligence
Collaborative business intelligence is the next analytics trend. Collaborative BI uses tools from social media and other next-generation sites. It focuses on combining the data into new reports and insights.
You can use all kinds of automatic functions and alerts. For example, you could set up an alert if you reach a certain number of leads in an hour. As the data analyst, you’re in control of the tools and procedures that can streamline the data processing quickly. This data is used for quick decisions and the company that makes the right decisions fastest wins.
Trend 7: Automation
Automation is one of many ongoing technology trends. You’ve seen it everything from your local supermarket up to manufacturing luxury goods. Automation supports social media feeds, supply chains, and data.
Working with data, you’ve seen a slow progression in the analytics trends. First came the dashboards that automatically updated. Then other functions were added to them. In 2019, the direction will move to automate even more. This will free up your time for more complex work.
This automation poses many benefits. It will remove a sizable part of your recurring tasks. This gives you time to focus on quality analysis instead of the report your boss wants every month. Automation also makes it easier for partner departments to access the data they need, leading to your bosses making quicker decisions based on better information.
Trend 8: Specialization
When analytics were a lot younger, it was easy to be a jack of all trades. However, the field has grown explosively. Now data drives all manner of decisions across entire corporations. It flows through different departments, and you are part of making that happen.
As the field has grown, the analytics trends have started pointing towards more specialization. Data analysts can now specialize in everything from the cloud to cognitive computing. Niching down will become more prevalent in 2019, and data science will be better adapted to a changing world for it.
Trend 9: Data-Driven Decisions
As you’ve been reading this article, you’ve seen a couple mentions about data-driven decisions. While this type of choice has a historical basis, it’s never been more prominent in business. That prominence is on account of you making the data available and usable.
These days, the data you process reaches every corner of the company. It specifies which products are doing well, predicts current trends, and even analyzes internal staff performance. Executives use your data to make decisions since numbers are more comfortable to back up. Data is slowly taking over everything that used to be made based on a gut feeling.
Successful data-driven decision processes rely on strategy. These typically include goal areas, data targeting, and insight development. Without this operational framework, your hard work may cause more issues than it solves.
Trend 10: Feature Engineering
Feature engineering is the practice of using machine learning to speed up data analysis. You can develop features for about any situation, and over time it will save you time. Since this type of engineering is on track to be more accessible in 2019, it’s essential to watch.
Feature engineering can be a bit costly to set up. You part as the data analyst is often reduced to making sure the data is correct before implementation. The first data set is vital to ensuring the resulting computer programs function correctly. Once set up, though, the engineered feature takes relative care of itself.
The analytics trends for 2019 will require careful consideration and changes. These trends will springboard your job into the future that’s less about preparing the numbers and more about making analysis on those numbers. These changes will require you to have a passing knowledge of everything mentioned, but you are not alone. You have a lot of power within your corporation, and incorporating a few technology trends will only increase your options.