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5 Data Analytics Trends that Will Make Waves in 2014

What trends should data analysts be paying attention to this year? From mobile and cloud to visualization and the Internet of things, the CEO and founder of a firm specializing in analytics gives us his list of the five most important movements to watch.

By Venkat Viswanathan, Founder and Chairman, LatentView

Now that we’re in the swing of a new year, we’ve taken stock of the data analytics trends that are brewing and developed a list of the Top 5 trends we believe are going to dominate the industry this year. Even if some of them don’t realize their full potential in 2014, it promises to be an important year in which consumer trends and technology innovation will further shape a future in which companies make data-driven decisions.

1. Data Visualization Goes Mainstream

In the mid-90s, e-mail introduced the Internet to consumers, made it more accessible, and catalyzed user adoption. Similarly, data visualization will make data analytics more accessible in 2014. Visual analytics allows business users to ask interactive questions of their prepared data sets and get immediate visual responses, which makes the whole process engaging.

This trend will democratize access to data and foster a strong data analysis culture where business users will look for data and perform visual analysis before making decisions. The quick wins that data visualization provides will lead to a changed mindset that will allow for future forays into more advanced analytics that uses math, statistics, and complex data sets. In 2014, we could see some further innovation around collaboration of business users in answering business questions. Soon, the business utility and future of a dashboard could be determined by how many “likes,” “shares,” and comments it receives from business users.

2. Mobile Data Marches to the Top

Smartphones and tablets have fundamentally changed consumer habits. Mobile video is the fastest growing segment of mobile data traffic. Brands need to think carefully and strategically about engaging with consumers on their mobile devices. By 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop Internet usage according to Microsoft Tag. According to GSMA findings, consumer monthly spending on mobile content and services in emerging markets reaches almost $1 billion, which presents an additional significant marketing and data analytics opportunity. All this means that the top priorities for companies will be defining mobile metrics that matter, understanding mobile technology and the data creation process, and collecting and analyzing mobile data.

3. Analytics in the Cloud Grows Up

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and other cloud computing platforms will continue to gain ground in 2014. Big data analytics solutions that require a pay-as-you-go data storage and computing-intensive analysis infrastructure can leverage these platforms and go to market with much lower capital costs than ever before. Innovations such as the cloud data warehouse platform from Amazon, RedShift, will gain ground and set new standards in self-service BI, enabling scalable, fast, and secure solution at very affordable prices.

The robustness of this platform will allow businesses to save on infrastructure design, setup, and management costs. It will free them up to focus on issues that matter most for their customers and focus on gaining and acting on business insights.

4. Predictive Analytics Takes Center Stage

For many years, companies have built data platforms and analytics infrastructure with a significant emphasis on hindsight: look-back reports that help businesses check their rear view mirrors. However, in 2014, there will be increased acknowledgement that enterprises need to start developing insights and foresights. With better insights and a forward-looking predictive view, businesses are less reactive and are able to be more proactive and shape their outcomes.

More important, CIOs have now started thinking about their predictive analytics needs even as they build today’s infrastructure and explore newer technologies such as Hadoop to manage their unstructured data and co-exist with their traditional data stores. The quick wins provided by data visualization so far, and the increasing appetite for business users to explore data for decision making, provide the platform for predictive analytics to significantly gain ground in 2014.

5. Internet of Things -- It’s Everywhere!

In 2013, we saw some of the early signs of the wearable computing revolution - Google Glass, Smart watches, activity monitors, etc. Although we are still some distance away from mass adoption, we expect to see much more activity in this space in 2014. The early successes of Pebble, Fitibit, and others are leading to innovation and development of many more similar products. Companies that are doing a great deal in product design and development will emerge as the early winners as they drive adoption through innovative marketing. Additionally, as more people use these technologies, companies will be able to monetize the data they collect through wearable devices. For example, makers of these devices have access to activity and demographic data that could prove valuable for health insurance companies.

Venkat Viswanathan is the founder and chairman of LatentView, an analytics specialist. You can contact the author at [email protected] or check his site.

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