Managing unstructured data will be next BI point of emphasis

Managing vast amounts of data within internal systems has always been a challenge. But with the rise of the cloud, social media, mobile devices and other technological innovations, organizations are now expected to keep track of everything on the internet as well. 

"Every company has numerous subject areas – such as HR, marketing, social and so on – that have yet to even start with BI and analytics," said Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner, in reference to the research firm's business intelligence study from February. 

IBM recently reported that 80 percent of all healthcare-related data will be unstructured by 2015, according to ZDNet, posing enormous challenges to an industry that already has plenty to worry about. But healthcare agencies aren't the only ones dealing with this issue. 

Marketers and salespeople have become incredibly interested in what's said about their products via social media and mobile devices; manufacturers are curious about what affect unstructured data has on supply chains; and C-level executives want to use all this information in any way to boost profits. 

So far, business intelligence and big data analytics have been found to be the most effective tools to keep track of and analyze unstructured information. As a result, investment in these technologies is expected to explode

"Since many midsize enterprises have yet to even start their BI and analytic initiatives, we expect the market for BI and analytics platforms will remain one of the fastest-growing software markets," Schlegel said. 

BI use will rise
Gartner projected that worldwide spending on BI will increase 7 percent from 2012 to 2013, and then growing another $3.3 billion total through 2017. But which BI tools organizations invest in over the next few years is expected to change significantly. 

In particular, Tom Davenport, an analytics guru, believes adopting big data to manage unstructured data represents one of the major BI-related trends for the near future, ZDNet reported. Decision-makers are especially interested in leveraging this information for the unprecendented insights they can provide.

This will include at least three types of BI strategies:

– Cloud-based analytics, which Davenport said is being used by just 13 percent of companies around the globe. However, he said the sector will see an 84 percent compound annual growth rate during the next two years.

– Mobile BI analytics to analyze the data produced by mobile apps. Davenport labeled this as being in the "it's about time" category.

– Social analytics, which will be particularly popular among salespeople and marketers as a means of developing customer profiles and projecting consumer trends. 

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