The top five data trends coming in 2018

The digital landscape moves so fast that it’s difficult to accurately predict what 2018 holds in store. What’s certain, however, is that big data will continue to impact every corner of the business world. And, if advances in artificial intelligence and the internet of things continue to dominate, we are likely to see more businesses become data-driven than ever before.

As 2018 approaches, organisations of all sizes will be exploring the many ways that data can drive business decisions and improve the bottom line. Here are the top five data trends to be aware of.

1. Data visualisation will become a must-have in business

Today’s organisations are embracing a culture of analytics that requires data to empower their every move. However, traditional approaches to business intelligence (BI) have often failed to unlock the power of data because they’re often just too complicated, too rigid, and too slow.

>See also: Data with personality: the evolution of visualisation

Data visualisation – or dashboards – will therefore become increasingly popular as they help people quickly digest the most relevant information. Combining graphs and charts with powerful and accessible business analytics means users in every department can not only see how their organisation is performing in real-time, but take the necessary actions earlier to prevent small issues becoming bigger problems as well as harness new opportunities.

2. Data visualisation will clean up ‘dirty data’

Given the growing number of data sources and the focus on using it to develop and drive business and marketing strategy, the need for clean data is increasingly important. However, research by W8 Data found that just 35% of organisations have a regular data cleansing process in place. That leaves a lot of businesses with incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent and duplicate data – all of which leads to lost revenue, wasted marketing efforts, misinformed decisions and, eventually, damaged reputation. Dashboards can tidy up this dirty data by helping businesses see their most important data at a glance, and monitor their data quality regularly and in real-time.

3. Improvements in data security

Data is only useful when it’s accessible, but there must be a balance between data access and security. People pose the biggest risk to an organisation’s data security and responsibility will extend beyond the leadership team in 2018. Businesses will once again be on the receiving end of a barrage of cyber attacks as hackers take advantage of the shift to employees using self-service data applications.

>See also: The rise of IoT in industrial organisations 

Organisations will shun traditional approaches to BI, which enforce strict lockdowns on data and reports, resulting in low adoption of analytics and leading to ill-informed decisions. Modern BI will be favoured because promotes data governance and helps create a safe and trusted environment for self-service analytics, which in turn leads to accurate, accessible, and audited dashboards and reports.

4. The chief data officer will be made redundant

While some are purporting the rise of the chief data officer (CDO), we see the opposite happening. With data analysis becoming part of everyone’s role and dashboards making analysis accessible for all, the CDO may effectively become redundant.

Not only are data visualisation tools easy to pick up and learn, they also enable data to be tailored to individual requirements so each member has only those details crucial to their department, saving them time and effort. And every user given access to these tools will be able to automate and present reporting and forecasting in a single view of operations. Presenting information clearly in this way will enable decision makers to hone in on the information they need and use it to map performance, identify trends and help predict future opportunities or requirements to change priorities.

5. Improvements in GDPR compliance to avoid ICO fines

At the heart of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is consumer protection and the new rules will radically alter how data can be collected, stored and deleted. The regulation requires organisations to know where they hold every single piece of personal data. Therefore, having the ability to pull data quickly from various sources into a dashboard, and understand it, will be more important than ever before.

>See also: Capitalising on the data revolution: The need for CDOs is growing

Centralising data in a dashboard gives one, real-time version of the truth, highlighting any discrepancies in data collection and the explicit consent surrounding personal information, straight away. This approach to data management also uncovers and resolves data that is ‘hiding’ throughout a network.

The bottom line is that data analysis will become the foundation for all business decisions in 2018 and beyond. But the data an organisation holds is only as good as how clean it is.

Dashboards will be the key to helping organisations reap the rewards of the coming year’s tech innovations, ensuring that their data is complete, correct, consistent, up-to-date and complies to the GDPR regulations.


Sourced by Robert Dagge, managing director at Dynistics

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...