We can all agree that the first half of 2017 was an industry-changing year for the use of business data, both structured and unstructured by leveraging platforms system outside the domain of  IT systems and its enforcement of standards.

As we enter the second half of 2017, I believe that making data analytics accessible to business users continues to be one of the biggest challenges. The rise of the self-service analytics platforms drastically improved this journey, however business users still want a reduction in the time and complexity of interpreting and analyzing data. This is especially important when dealing with a variety of real-time decisions.

Below are the top three business data trends for 2017 that are driving the accessibility of data analytics for business users.

  • Advanced predictive lead scoring tools deserve another look – Prioritizing leads is the single best way to save your sales team time, effort and money. Using advanced predictive lead scoring solution provides a differentiator in all industries. To constantly grow our business, for example,  we found that it does not make sense to employ a large sales team chasing after the multitude of leads that won’t close. Using predictive analytics, we can assign sales with the leads that will close and incubate the ones that are not ready yet.

  • Self-service data tools are critical – More than ever,  business users need to reduce the time and complexity of preparing business data for analysis. DBA’s (Database Architects) are now focused on creating and translating advanced logical data model and analytics rather than running daily reports. This will require self-service data tools in all departments from Marketing to Finance, to provide snapshots for faster and easier analytical exploration.

  • The data community will continue to implement best practices for data privacy and security. As machine learning, cloud storage use, and complex algorithms become more common, maintaining is much more challenging. In the first half of 2017 alone, there have been data breaches in large companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Verifone, and UNC Health Care.  In the second half of 2017, there will be an increased focus and investment in data security technology especially in preventing unauthorized breaches as well as preventing accidental or intentional destruction, infection or corruption of information.

These are the core foundational business data trends affecting any organization with critical data, be it structured or unstructured. Other factors are evolving that will affect businesses including big data, cyber security, and IoT. How all these factors will play out over the next few years will depend on building a solid data foundation.