Five trends that will dominate data analytics in 2022

2022 trends

Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and these five trends that will dominate data analytics in 2022.  More recently, tech conversations have shifted from one about applications to one about outcomes. As a result, data analytics has factored heavily in the more recent years and I think these five trends that will dominate data analytics in 2022.

Integration and automation

Organisations are seeing the value in cohesive corporate data. A common barrier for most is that data is siloed, stuck in old legacy systems and unable to integrate with other data sources.  A typical organisation has:

  • Sales applications
  • Inventory or job management systems
  • Finance applications
  • etc

Each of these applications are well organised but they don’t talk to each other.  So its a common, and costly frustration for many businesses.  Hours upon hours are spent manually ‘connecting’ the dots between the two systems.  Updating a record in one solution typically requires updating the same record in other systems.

Integration

Integration has been around for years but it’s not been easy to implement.  APIs are the best way to make it happen but they are very technical (for the non-technical) and they can take a bit of time to get set up correctly. There are experts out there that can create API frameworks in their sleep (Imran Hugo).

It’s only in the past 5 years or so that we’ve seen the emergence of self service integrations tools like Zapier (Zapier.com). And with integration comes the promise of automation.

Automation

Automation, in the context of data, is about minimising human touchpoints on the data and letting the computers do the leg work. Update a customer name in your ERP, and every other system that needs to know about that change, is also updated…. automatically…. and instantly.

Digital transformation powered by data analytics

Digital transformation has taken the world by storm and no industry has been left untouched.  Every organisation has either taken the leap, in the process of transforming or working out how to do it.  Big data, AI, Machine learning and IoT are all phrases that are commonly discussed during a digital transformation project.

But underneath that sits the data. Boring, dull and uninteresting data.

None of these initiatives are possible without data. However, it’s not simply data that is needed, a Data analytics platform is required.

For any organisation to effectively and successfully deliver support any data initiatives (including digital transformation) their data must take centre stage. Data analytics is at the core of any digital transformation process.

Read more on why digital transformation fails.

Data driven planning and forecasting

When you do something many times over you get really good at it. Its why we have tradespeople and professionals. They spend years getting the education they need to understand how to do their future job. Then they spent some more years on the tools (or in practice) learning how to do their job well. In most cases, they get certified or qualified by a governing body.

Economically, this is called an competitive advantage. They get so good at what they do, they can work faster and more efficiently, and achieve a consistent and reliable outcome.

So what’s this got to do with Data driven planning and forecasting?

Well, organisations are collections of experienced people who provide a common service or product to their customers. They collectively create a competitive advantage for their employer, who, presumably offers a specific service or product. In doing so, the team spend years, carrying out the same, or similar tasks, repeatedly on a day to day basis.

“Fear not the martial artist that practices a 1,000 different kicks once. Fear the martial artists that practices one kick a thousand times.”

To an economist this is gold!

It’s fair to assume that much of what they do is recorded in the organisations systems and applications.  Which means they are sitting on thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of data points that describe in finite detail everything about their operation:

  • Efficiency of staff, head office, regions, etc
  • Cost per region, product, service etc
  • Loss or leakage
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Cost of customer acquisition
  • Profitability over time and by division or section
  • product comparisons
  • even a competitor analysis

Can you join the dots?

Uncertain times mean things are not going to behave as expected.  The lack of certainty means who knows what’s around the corner. 

Data on demand

People want to engage with data. So give it to them!

Many organisations are making headway with digital transformations and data analytics but the drive is not solely happening at the top.  Self starters, mavericks and data investigators have been exploring and analysis their data for years.

True, they may not have had access to all the corporate data.  But that hasn’t stopped Jane in Accounts Receivable creating that awesome Excel spreadsheet that tells her who to call on the first of each month.

Or Lee from tech support, who was constantly being asked by management about call rates and call duration, to create his own Power BI dashboard that he published for them to answer their own questions.

People are hungry for data.  So give it to them!

Enabling data democratisation is a powerful action to take. Each staff member who is engaged and empowered by high quality, reliable data and the right tools will most certainly look for ways to better understand the business. It could be to present digital, dynamic reports of their project progress, customer trends or a dissection of corporate expenses. Whichever path is taken, an outcome is inevitable and one that will provide value to the organisation in one way or another.

Just make sure it’s clean, well governed, trustworthy and secure.

To deliver effective business analytics you will need these three people you need in your business.

Dedicated data analytics capabilities

There’s no doubt there has been a massive increase in organisations adopting data analytics in the past 5 years. Even more so in the past two.

We’ve got a long way to go before data analytics capabilities are commonplace in every firm but we are heading in the right direction. And the trend is happening in almost every industry.

At the top end of town we commonly see a dedicated team of analysts and data engineers. At the small end of town it’s common the team responsible for data analytics have a normal day job and keep things flowing as a bit of a side hustle.

It’s been an interesting evolution to watch because data analytics is a new capability to almost any firm that isn’t directly involved in IT.  It’s approached with caution and a touch of fear as companies try to embrace their data but are unprepared for the journey. Subsequently, many mistakes are made as the team (or individual) beat their own path to the fruits of data analytics.

How to get there

The fastest way to achieve the goal is to engage some experts or employ a team with capabilities.  Yet the barrier to that has been the belief that it would be easy. It’s just data after all, and it’s already being managed and organized.

So the assumption is commonly made that it’s a short leap from where they currently are. And it sort of is, but it sort of isn’t.

A true Data Analytics capability needs:

  • governance
  • security
  • infrastructure
  • competence
  • and an objective

It’s more than just opening up your data for all to see.  It’s a case of creating a data environment that’s reliable, accurate, secure and valuable.

These Five trends that will dominate data analytics in 2022 and we will see more and more firms evolve and take advantage of their data.

Expect some major changes in 2022!