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A Look Ahead – Data Prep Predictions for 2017

As if big data wasn’t big enough, it’s about to get bigger. Companies large and small – particularly in healthcare and finance – continue to hop on the data train and realize just how valuable their data is in making informed business decisions, driving company processes and improving the customer experience.

But what’s in store particularly when it comes to data preparation for analytics? As we begin to close the door on 2016, a look back has helped shape predictions for 2017. Here’s a glimpse of what we can expect to see in the new year.


data-accessEmbedded Analytics Functionality in Enterprise Applications
In 2017, the focus will be all about data access. Expect to see more integrated, cross-platform views of data in enterprise applications in the coming year. Instead of having to pull data from a variety of different sources, a number of enterprise applications have been embedding analytics functionality into their suites. Think out-of-the-box, easy-to-use, ready-to-use.

For instance, in September, Salesforce announced the expansion of its Wave Analytics portfolio with new apps built in-house and by independent software vendors (ISVs) in its ecosystem. The addition of the new Salesforce Wave apps for B2B Marketing and Financial Services Cloud, as well as 20 apps from leading ISV partners including Everis, ThinkLP and Vlocity arms employees with greater knowledge about their customers and enables them to make actionable insights within the context of their businesses.

And let’s not forget about the acquisition of Platfora by Workday this past July. The Workday purchase allows the enrichment of analytics in Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management so that customers can address business problems and take advantage of business opportunities immediately.

As organizations adopt a platform approach to their back office systems – i.e. ERP/financial/HR/marketing – they’re embedding analytics applications so they can access their own data much easier. Having data in one location, one can build analytics views and applications across multiple components of their suite. Keep an eye out for more pre-packed analytics views with multiple data sets allowing those in functional roles to get more involved in the business decision-making process.

fast accurate sales and marketing analytics thumbFunctionally-siloed vs. Industry-focused Analytics
In 2016, there was a greater focus on functional analytics vs. industry-focused analytics and this is likely to continue in 2017. It’s been argued that big data is the future of marketing. Therefore, it stands to reason that these niche products are gaining in popularity. Sales and marketing programs including Salesforce, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics CRM allow organizations ranging from small-to-midsized businesses (SMB) to enterprise companies drive sales, better track leads and improve customer service.

Meanwhile, the rise of People Analytics has given more attention to HR-focused platforms. According to HRDive, people analytics as a discipline, and a corporate function, is taking off. Most companies have a Human Capital Management (HCM) or Human Resources Information System (HRIS) in use to track and monitor employee data. A few of the large enterprise HCM systems in use include Workday, Oracle, and SAP Success Factors. What’s more, there are a number of systems for the SMB market specifically including Namely, Bamboo, Pineapple, Ceridian and ADP.

Kinder, Gentler BI Programs
The data prep market is on a high-growth trajectory. In fact, it was recently announced that by 2021, the data prep market will be worth 3.93 billion USD. The importance of timely, clean data is growing as is the need to adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements. Further, data prep tools allow companies to streamline business operations.

monarch imageThere’s been a push in 2016 for these types of tools to be more user-friendly. Look for more emphasis in 2017 to be placed on the self-service data prep market as users are looking for kinder, gentler BI programs. This market in particular is poised to grow the most by 2021. Our self-service data prep tool Monarch for example, allows individuals to bring any data into any analytic tool. With it, business users can automatically extract from reports and web pages and can combine, clean and use with their favorite tools. Everyday users – not rocket scientists or IT specialists – can work directly with their data and use 100 prebuilt manipulation functions, add calculated fields and mask data without learning a new script language or complex flow diagrams.

Consolidation Nation
Have you taken a recent look at how many BI tools are on the market today? Too many. While we’ll see kinder, gentler BI programs gain in popularity, we’ll also likely continue to see increased mergers take place. From traditional BI platforms, to data prep to cataloging tools, expect a number of the companies manufacturing these programs to be snatched up or disappear altogether. It’s more than likely that we’ll witness many more consolidations in the new year than we did in 2016 including the Qlik acquisition by private equity firm Thomas Bravo and Tableau’s acquisition of HyPer.

So what do you think? Are these predictions similar to what you were thinking? What else do you think we can expect? Join the Data Preparation LinkedIn Group so we can continue the conversation.