2022 Data & Analytics Trends, Predictions, and Wishful Thinking

As we start to ease into 2022, let’s take a look at some of the trends and predictions we can expect from data & analytics this year.

Fittingly, the AI, Data & Analytics Network released an AI, Data & Analytics 2022 Outlook Annual Report after surveying hundreds of leaders to uncover what the next 12 months will hold.

We’ve cherry-picked our favorites from this report that we have seen first-hand interest and implementations for mid-market and enterprise clients.

Beginning with the end in mind, via artificial intelligence

Yep, we’re going to hit you with the big stuff, right out the gate. It seems like putting AI first in this list wouldn’t be logical, but if you know where you’re going (transformational applied AI) then every road will take you there. All of the foundational progress is below.

data & analytics trends

There are a variety of ways that AI will add value to business, which is why it seems so accessible these days. You don’t have to go big right off the bat. Many articles even use the term “casual AI” for this reason. For example, in our own use case, Smartbridge applies AI to marketing, sales, and accounting. We use tools that apply machine learning to interactions, or document understanding within robotic process automation to detect anomalies in invoices.

To show how far artificial intelligence implementations have come within organizations is that a mere 6% of businesses say they are not investing in AI at all. You read that correctly, only 6%.

data & analytics trends
Image courtesy of AI, Data & Analytics 2022 Outlook

Let’s get specific with advanced analytics, specifically predictive analytics

Here’s the most intriguing thing about the annual report. When asked what type of advanced analytics their company is currently using, versus what is planned, a hidden treasure is buried here.

Currently, predictive analytics is the lowest investment among 16 types of techniques at 18%. In the future however, the prediction (ha, get it?) is that predictive analytics will become the highest investment at 46%. That’s quite impressive. But is it realistic?

Straight from the report, “Given its wide range of applications and high levels of strategic impact, this area is poised for tremendous growth. In fact, according to research by ReportLinker, the global predictive analytics market is expected to double over the next 5 years ballooning from $10.5 billion in 2021 to $28.1 billion by 2026.”

Pro Tip: See how predictive analytics can be used to reduce employee turnover >>

data & analytics trends

Data governance will get a new reputation

We consider the folks that take care of data governance our heroes, because time and time again, it gets neglected for something more ‘exciting’. The best innovators think about data governance first, in the middle, and last.

As it stands, 44% of budgets are currently being placed towards data governance tools and solutions. In the future, it appears the prediction will be that it starts to take a backseat again, possibly because vigorous initial investments have all been made. This means a majority of organizations have moved beyond their data strategy phase, and a whopping 48% have not! The other 42% have moved into maintenance mode with governance, privacy, and security.

A self-service data governance model is key to continued security, compliance, and efficiency. Whether it’s business-led or IT-managed, defining roles and offering training of standardized datasets is a must.

Pro Tip: Learn how we implemented governance for a Power BI deployment >>

Cloud data warehouse migrations will hit a glass ceiling

This “trend” will flatline soon that’s because most investments into this project are happening now, with the expectation that investments in the future will taper off. Basically, every company that is moving to the cloud is doing it now. It was the top funded investment for 2 years in a row with this survey, but going forward, a shift to the next step in the game has already begun.

Looking at the next 5 years, there’s a new shift in focus with a common theme: deep learning, AI/ML, predictive analytics. They all tell a story that businesses are moving into the next era of data.

(And for every parent with a teenager headed to college with an undecided major – may we suggest…. data science!)

Digital transformation still gets mixed reviews

Digital Transformation is often thought of as a buzzword or a pie-in-the-sky generalized hype for anything considered shiny and new, but it’s alive and well (or not, depending on who you listen to). This survey indicates that for the 2nd year in a row, “enabling digital transformation” is a top choice for the way organizations are using enterprise data and analytics. In fact, 52% of respondents believe they may not be as digitally mature as they want to be. However, they’re still focused on these types of projects and consider them a successful way to reap the rewards from enterprise data.

While some experts purport that digital transformation is dead, the truth is companies that didn’t dwell in legacy systems have been successfully driven by the pandemic to accelerate transformative efforts and process automation. The other almost half of orgs (48% according to a separate study) admitted that their data strategies had fallen significantly behind their digital transformation deployments.

Data democratization is the new stretch goal

As far back as 2020 (a long time ago in digital maturity), Gartner validated the trend of “citizen development”. Business users were creating applications and solutions to be shared by others, sanctioned by IT. This was made possible with the low code application development tools that rose from all major vendors.

Today, this has evolved into data democratization. By giving users access to all the right data they need in a secure, accessible manner, companies will have achieved the definitive step in scaling data and analytics.

data & analytics trends
Image courtesy of AI, Data & Analytics 2022 Outlook

Ultimately, most companies won’t reach this data democratization summit this year. While budgets to achieve this goal will increase, it’s still a long-term objective as many steps are required first. Now you see why data governance is looking more appealing?

A final comment to all the data & analytics trends and predictions above is that it’s worth taking a look back at how far we’ve come. Another great read, IDG’s 2022 State of the CIO, reminds us that the journey is not always easier for everyone but us. Meaning, the grass isn’t always greener. In that report, 76% of CIOs say it’s challenging to find the right balance between business innovation and operational excellence.

IDG gave us a good picture of what it looks like for 985 IT leaders and 250 line of business (LOB) leaders that participated. At one point at Smartbridge, we were selling the idea of digital transformation and data maturity, we’re now smack in the middle of executing said projects. 85% of the leaders are currently spending time on transformational activities. This is further broken down into…

  • Modernizing infrastructure and applications (40%)
  • Aligning IT initiatives with business goals (38%)
  • Cultivating the IT/business partnership (30%)

If all this makes your head spin, the best place to start is wherever you are now. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Find a partner you can trust to really identify your most critical issues and your quickest wins. With your full data strategy and roadmap in place beforehand, funding these data & analytics priorities is realistic. Smartbridge will start with a free assessment if you need the boost.

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