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December 18, 2014

10 data discovery & visualisation predictions for 2015

Your need-to-know guide from all the experts.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

1. Growth equals more than twice the rate of the rest of the BI market

Brian Gentile, SVP and general manager of Tibco Jaspersoft, told CBR: "I expect that data discovery and visualisation tools will grow at least twice as fast as the rest of the BI market, because they are far better suited to solving the modern needs of the business users and analysts."

Patrik Lundblad, Visualization Advocate at Qlik, also told CBR: "The industry analysts are saying the same things too forecasting that data discovery will grow at three to five times the rest of the BI market. Critical Gartner said that more than half of BI revenue in 2014 would come from data discovery – in other words, the tipping point has been reached."

Charles Caldwell, director of Solutions Engineering and Principal Solutions Architect for Logi Analytics, said: "Visual data discovery tools are already growing faster than the rest of the BI market. Traditional BI tool vendors have been shrinking over the near-term past, and the growth in the industry recently has been driven by data discovery and other new entrants in the market."

He added: "I suspect we will continue to see data discovery outpace the overall market, though I think we’ll start to see their growth slowing in the next few years as they bump up against the enterprise limiters inherent in their current offerings. Until someone delivers Data Discovery 2.0, these tools will increasingly show their gaps and find the edges of their addressable market."

2. Skills shortage

Duncan Swain, the creative partner of IIB Studio, told CBR: "The market is definitely making a shift towards more interactives and to data visualisation tools which allow people to filter and manipulate data as they want. I also think there will be more need for designers and developers with the skills to produce this work. This will mean educational institutions stepping up more to fuel this market with appropriately skilled people."

He added: "Clients are looking for insights and other value from visualisation and as vendors we need to help them see the patterns, connections and stories that otherwise remain hidden in their spreadsheets and databases. Sometimes our job is also to humanise that data in a way that makes it more relatable and approachable for people. There’s always a risk that numbers and data are very hard edged and black and white – a feeling of a human fingerprint is sometimes necessary to give context and help people engage with the visualisation."

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3. Data quality major barrier

Charlie Clark, CEO of Rosslyn Analytics, told CBR: "The number one challenge facing an organisation isn’t the inability to visualise data, but rather poor data quality. For years, data discovery vendors have quickly dominated the business intelligence market, selling easier-to-use visualisation tools to departments in organisations that have historically struggled with and been reliant on traditional IT-managed reporting systems."

He added: "As beautiful as these "next generation" on-premise visualisation tools are, they have never addressed data quality and, specifically, empowering the business user to be in control of managing the data at source through to its transformation from raw data into meaningful information."

Dr. Rado Kotorov, VP of Product Marketing at Information Builders, also told CBR the impact of allowing users to use data discovery tools on their own desktop cannot be underestimated.

He said: "Say you had a range of analysts all using data discovery; will they all arrive at the same conclusion on the same information? This puts a big question mark over the validity of findings. Businesses should also consider how they can identify and cleanse corrupt, invalid, or incomplete data to provide a complete, unhindered view of data quality issues at all times – the missing link when it comes to data discovery."

He added: "Fortunately, governed analytics provides an effective solution to this. Through effective data governance, business users can still have the freedom to access data but IT retains centralised management of the data to ensure its integrity. This can help address the single view of data as it ensures businesses get a quality 360 degree view of data across an entire organisation and we will see more businesses embrace this in 2015."

4. Growth in mobile analytics

Ellie Fields, VP of Product Marketing at Tableau Software, told CBR data discovery vendors will need to offer more in the way of mobile analytics.

She said: "Workers are increasingly spending less time at their desks, but that doesn’t mean they should be less informed by data; in fact they have a greater need for data than ever before, and, although mobile solutions for many analytics emerged years ago, they are finally reaching a level of maturity that means that mobile workers really can do light analysis from the road.

"Therefore, the emphasis on mobile will force data discovery vendors to offer more natural and intuitive interfaces across the board."

5. Which vendors will stand out next year?

IIB’s Swain said: "Anyone who is offering tools for mass use that democratise the ability to visualise by removing some of the barriers whether that’s design or device selection (Accurat with their Raw product for instance). Key to this is that these products are easy to use (of course) and can take inputs from multiple sources and in multiple formats."
Tableau’s Fields added: "The vendors that will succeed in the coming year are those that make it easy for everyone to see and understand data."

6. Static dashboards and data scientists will fall

Tableau’s Fields said: "We are starting to see an age when data is accessible and interactive enough that it can become the backbone of a conversation. Conversations with data are replacing static dashboards. As a consequence, business users in 2015 will seek flexible, speed-of-thought analytical tools, so they can quickly analyse data, mash it up with other data and redesign it to create a new perspective. Meetings will become more engaging as people explore data together rather than plod through a set of slides and take down actions for later."

Andy Fuller, head of data analytics in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu, added: "Organisations will continue to use embedded predictive analytics into their data discovery tools, enabling business users to produce visually impressive and valuable insights. This will also result in reduced assistance from data scientists."

7. Data discovery and visualisation for all

Qlik’s Lundblad said: "As data and visualisation is becoming easier to use, we will see more visualisations being created from more people. Everyone from the family at home will be visualising their expenditures, through to an employee using company data to create their own personal visualisation."

Tableau’s Fields said: "Business analytics is no longer reserved for data scientists. The products that help doctors, lawyers, school teachers, students, nurses and everyone in between see their own insights from the data will stand out."

Tibco’s Gentile added: "Business users will need to be made more capably analytic, with the best practices and models of their data scientist counterparts within easy reach and use (from within the tool). In fact, the best way to help the business user is to let the data discovery tool recommend the visualisation type that best suits the data and context."

8. Call for ‘sophisticated algorithmic classification’

Neil Mendelson, VP of big data and advanced analytics at Oracle, told CBR: "New data discovery and visualisation tools will help people with expertise in the business but not in technology use big data in daily decisions. Much of this data will come from outside the firm and, therefore, beyond the careful curation of enterprise data policies."

"To simplify this complexity, these new technologies will combine consumer-grade user experience with sophisticated algorithmic classification, analysis and enrichment under the hood. The result for business users will be easy exploration on big data, like knowing where the oil is before digging the well."

9. Richer and broader set of tools

Tibco’s Gentile said: "The best data discovery experience requires a rich, broad set of visualisation types, which includes a wide variety of charts and graphs, geo-coded maps, and even graphical widgets where helpful, and statistical and predictive modelling techniques."

"It’s one thing to beautifully analyse past data and it’s quite another to model it in the relevant context and then extend it into the future. The best tool does both."

10. Data mash-ups will be made easier

Fujitsu’s Fuller said: "Data mash-ups will be made easier through the use of smarter data integration tools being embedded within discovery tools. This will allow business users to achieve more without support from technical teams – combining both structured and unstructured data more easily than we have ever seen before."

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