The Future of Business Analytics: Trends in Data and Business Intelligence

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Close-up of a keyword with a bright “solution” key at the forefront.

The future of business analytics is bright. That’s partly because people generate a massive amount of digital data every day. In 2020, people consumed a whopping 64.2 zettabytes of data, according to Statista. To put that number in perspective, just 1 zettabyte provides enough storage for 30 billion 4K movies, 60 billion video games, or 7.5 trillion songs in MP3 format. This number is poised for growth, too: It’s projected that the data consumed globally will reach approximately 181 zettabytes in 2025.

It’s therefore not surprising that students earning a degree in business analytics will enter a market with ample opportunity. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of market research analysts is growing much faster than average — by a projected 22% between 2020 and 2030. The job outlook is also above average for related positions, such as management analyst (14%) and operations research analyst (25%). These numbers demonstrate the need for qualified professionals to manage all that digital information and convert it to meet business goals.

Business Analytics Trends

Technology is an ever-evolving process. Naturally, this evolution produces business analytics trends that professionals must know about to help companies leverage raw data to reach their goals. These pros must understand the following trends in data and business intelligence to optimize opportunities for their companies.

Search-Based Discovery Tools

Using raw data to answer specific questions or track trends isn’t a foreign concept to many. After all, people do it routinely when they turn to tools such as Google and other search engines to find something. Search queries are second nature to many individuals, but not every company has user-friendly data discovery technology for this purpose.

These tools make it possible to sift through and find actionable data from disparate sources more efficiently. This can boost the capacity to find key insights for effective business strategies that may otherwise be lost in a sea of information. As the number of potential sources increases, the ability to cut through superfluous information and get to what matters becomes more essential.

Bringing the power of search-based discovery tools to the internal operations of enterprises isn’t the only area where knowledge of business analytics trends shines. Online marketing is a key initiative for all types of businesses, and an understanding of the data mechanics of Google and other search engines is critical to its success. The future of business analytics in marketing is now. Time spent on-page, social shares, where page visits originate from, and other data can inform marketing decisions and drive relevant traffic.

AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning facilitate high efficiency at substantially reduced costs. Experts predict machine learning will complete a growing number of customer service tasks in the future, but the effectiveness of these technologies depends heavily on the people behind them. Even machines with the capacity to learn must be fed the right information, and business analysts are often the keepers of these solutions.

AI and machine learning offer widespread applications for businesses. The online publication Business 2 Community points out that the concepts provide the backbone for elements that are crucial for business effectiveness and efficiencies, such as personalized marketing, cybersecurity, talent recruitment, and customer relationship management. While these technology-driven elements are poised to impact the business environment, they still need the human touch of business analytics professionals to ensure that their functions translate to success.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, the process of using remote servers on the internet to store and manage data, provides many of the benefits businesses demand. These benefits include reduced reliance on physical resources that are often outdated as soon as they’re installed; increased efficiencies, especially when working with teams in disparate locations; and plenty of options for redundancy management and disaster planning. When utilized correctly, cloud computing can increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.

However, taking advantage of these benefits isn’t always easy. Companies need to develop viable workflows to pool resources, share information efficiently but securely, oversee data access to protect consumers, and maintain the speed and ease with which data can be accessed. Business analysts manage data flow within cloud-based structures, help design and develop data processes, and analyze both the data and the performance of systems overall to ensure that business goals are supported.

Predictive Analytics Tools

Predictive analytics will likely play a large role in the future of business analytics. Predictive analytics in business often comes down to the need to anticipate the customer’s or the client’s next move. By analyzing historical data patterns in consumer behavior, market fluctuations, and even societal trends, businesses can prepare for certain outcomes and performances with increased confidence. This could not only keep them consistently relevant in their industry but also transform them into industry leaders.

Because the concept’s success depends on the future, the information from the past must be properly interpreted for upcoming plans. If not, negative ramifications might follow. The work of a highly skilled business analytics professional can be critical for keeping the purpose behind predictive analytics beneficial and not something that can inadvertently cause business strategies to hit unexpected snags.

Data Automation

With the amount of data reaching the zettabytes, sorting, storing, and managing it can be an increasingly challenging and time-consuming process. This is what makes data automation such an important component for the future of business. Data automation can automatically take care of the mundane yet critical parts of data management, leaving those in business analytics roles more time to analyze and interpret gathered findings. It can also be a vital part of helping businesses overcome any scalability issues they may have.

The key to effectively using data automation is building an effective strategy that properly curates the automated system. This means the data is stored in a way that makes it easy to access and use at the appropriate time. Business analytics professionals can be instrumental in this key process, as they can use their knowledge and skills to build strategies that integrate sensibility and efficiency into the data automation process.

Join the Future of Business Analytics

With so much reliance on data in the modern business world, analytics jobs are steadily increasing. Students excited about participating in the future of business analytics with a focus on leveraging the power of big data can kick-start their careers by earning advanced degrees in business analytics.

With courses such as Strategic Use of Information Systems, Strategic Use of Analytics, and Predictive Analytics, Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics can help students learn how to create data models and utilize advanced analytic tools. Discover how this cutting-edge program can help professionals prepare for today’s data-driven business careers.

Recommended Readings

How to Empower Decision Making with Predictive Analytics

A Career in High Demand: Business Analytics Salary and Other Benefits

Business Analytics vs. Data Science: Comparing Popular Tools and Languages


Astera, “Data Automation: How It Transforms the Enterprise Landscape”

Business News Daily, “Cloud Computing: A Small Business Guide”

Business 2 Community, “Why Is AI & ML Important and How Will It Impact Business?”

Forbes, “Three Data Technologies to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet”

Gartner, Search-Based Data Discovery Tools

Investopedia, “Predictive Analytics”

PCMag, “Seagate Is the First Company to Ship 3 Zettabytes of Hard Drive Storage”

Statista, Volume of Data/Information Created, Captured, Copied, and Consumed Worldwide From 2010 to 2025

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Operations Research Analysts