Predictions for 2018 by Andy Cotgreave

1 min read
What is, in your opinion, the most important thing that will happen in Analytics in 2018?
Artificial Intelligence will continue to receive the biggest hype, but will face major adoption challenges. The developments at the cutting edge are astonishing – witness AlphaGoZero, for example. However, at the business end, companies will realise that good use of AI in analytics has a disappointingly narrow scope. Successful AI applications require massive, high quality datasets, and can currently apply to narrowly scoped questions. They also need to be driven by hard-to-find data scientists. Organisations are still struggling to get their general analytics platforms in a good state and might shy away from AI once they separate the reality from the hype.
Where AI will impact is in features that augment the analyst. Machine Learning, a subset of AI, is being applied to help analysts complete mundane tasks more quickly. When exploring data, recommendation algorithms can suggest existing insights from other people in their organisation. In data prep, algorithms can speed up the cleaning of dirty data.
Finally, natural language processing is maturing to the point that conversational analytics is possible.   
Big Data is said to be a dying term, and Business Intelligence appears to go the same direction. Do you agree with this, and if so, what do you think is the best term that can replace these?
Big Data is definitely dying as a concept. I don’t see it used at tech conferences any more. Industry has now grown used to huge datasets being stored in the cloud, and the application of machine learning to find insights within them. I think we can just call it analytics.

About Andy Cotgreave

Andy Cotgreave is Tableau Software’s senior data analyst in the UK. With 16+ years experience battling with good and bad Business Intelligence (BI) tools, Andy has held positions in data analysis, business research and software development. Prior to Tableau, he was a senior data analyst at the University of Oxford. He has also served in positions at Fast Track, RCP Consultants and RM PLC, giving him a diverse range of technical and non-technical skills. He’s a frequent speaker and has spoken at conferences including Strata London, Oxford Internet Institute and News:Rewired. Andy is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and holds an MA in Geography. Andy downloaded a trial version of Tableau when frustrated with the BI tools available to him at his previous company. “In just four hours, I had gained more insights than our team would normally take weeks to discover. I was hooked instantly and realized that Tableau’s approach was refreshing, innovative and disruptive.”