AI drives data analytics, study finds

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Business leaders have an insatiable need for better analysis of ever more data, and the pandemic has only intensified the quest. This is one of the conclusions of a recent report by analyst firm 451 Research.

“Data, AI and Analytics Trends, 2021” surveyed a wide range of enterprise IT stores and found that many were increasing their investments in collecting data and generating better analytics. As a result, AI analytics breathe new life into data analytics tools.

In many cases, the new analysis depends on deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to find a real signal or trend.

Was this change the result of COVID? Companies in the survey were essentially divided on this issue, with 51% agreeing that “my organization has increased the number or scope of active analysis projects as a result of COVID-19.”

This change showed a reversal of a trend identified by 451 Research during the first few months of the pandemic. When the lockdowns and other measures started, many companies put new projects on hold, and data-driven analytics were an easy target. As such projects have picked up, significant changes are taking place.

“The unprecedented level of change we’ve seen means that historical data and models are no longer relevant,” suggested a previous 2020 survey in the 451 Research series.

How have things changed? For many, an increase in remote work meant more opportunities to track and measure. The report suggests that this leads to more analysis options that are driven by the need to understand how to deploy resources and meet customer needs in a markedly new business environment.

Data analysis evolves with business models

Between employees working from home, widely distributed office space, and the demand for more digital services, analytics can help decision makers understand which parts of the business are working and which are not.

Much of this is part of a trend that took place long before the pandemic and will continue regardless of it. The report found that many survey respondents expect broad growth in all analytical options, from traditional business report generators to self-service business intelligence / visualization tools.

The most significant growth has been seen in automated incident alerting and detection tools / corporate metrics, an area that offers managers a way to track key metrics for dangerous changes.

“There is a predominant view in the data and analytics industry that traditional forms of business intelligence, especially reports and dashboards generated by IT and data analysts, as well as the second wave of business intelligence analytics tools involving business intelligence / self-service visualization tools, wither. on the vine ”, notes the report. But 451 Research pointedly adds that the survey data “tells a different story” and that such tools do not wither.

Indeed, tools are used more and more, concludes the report, because AI and what the report calls “augmented intelligence” are becoming a common part of business intelligence and reporting. For example, 25% of those surveyed currently use automated incident measurement / detection and alerting tools, but 39% plan to use them within the next two years. In general, automated suggestions and other heavily processed analytics will form the basis for more dashboards and other business information.

COVID breeds data culture

The report also explored how the pandemic can change the way businesses nurture what it calls “a data culture.” Many survey respondents said they have invested in new products and tools to simplify data analysis and reduce data silos.

What form these data storage facilities will take, however, is still an active area of ​​experimentation and investment. The report notes that new features and products are blurring the lines between concepts like the data lake and the data warehouse. Product lines converge as separate offering providers add similar functionality.

“Building a pervasive data culture requires more than a technological investment. While investing in data management ranks at the top of organizations’ stated efforts to support data culture, the larger challenge is that of managing change, ”the report said.

This applies to the change from the pandemic and everything that comes next.

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