2021 Trends – How You Ranked Them

On December 8th, it was time for the annual “State of the Union” from Qlik, with regards to BI & Data Trends. Overwhelmingly, attendance was in the many thousands, and we received thousands of questions. To get that type of engagement in a year where people have done nothing but virtual conferences is amazing. One person put it to me like this: “I just joined in on your webinar on the top data and analytics trends and it was truly fantastic. Being video weary, my attention span for those is normally only around 10 mins these days, but I hung in for every last word of yours.”

In 2020, attention is the new oil, and I couldn’t ask for higher praise. Another great thing was to see the questions coming in. In fact, they were so good and plentiful that we recorded and addressed many of them in an elongated Q&A after the recording, which the post-production team will get up online after the new year. You can find the “Top BI & DataTrends 2021” webinar here.

The exit poll reveals some interesting results, too. Here were the trends that were most relevant to you, if you could only pick one:

  1. “Mass consumption of shared data, visualizations, storytelling”
  2. “SaaS is everyone’s new best friend”
  3. “Up-to-date and business-ready data” and “Collaboration earlier in the chain” tied for third place

That’s what I would have guessed, too. We’ve all felt the effect of the top two. There hasn’t gone a day that I haven’t looked at a visualization this year, and I’m not the only armchair epidemiologist/data cruncher out there. It will do wonders for data literacy in society, which will also translate over to organizations. SaaS has just exploded, as a way for all of us to keep being efficient in a distributed/virtual environment, and increasingly for AI.

I’ve also pitched this to groups of C-level executives in workshops. Their ranking is wholly different: If they could only choose one, they ranked like this in the aggregate:

  1. “Up-to-date, business-ready data”
  2. “From self-service to self-sufficiency”
  3. “Business process re-engineering takes center stage”

This varies by geography, but the way I gauged it in the conversation, is that many – especially North American – C-level executives already perceive themselves and their companies to be well under way with SaaS. They have the same feelings about mass consumption of data, visualizations and storytelling. What is of paramount importance for them is focusing in on transforming information into business solutions; they are done with simple visualizations and are looking for next-level value. The point was also made that the top three in many ways are interrelated to one another. If you fix one, it’s that much easier to tackle the other two.

So, I guess the takeaway is that trends always resonate, but especially in a year with massive change. What we all have in common is that we’ve all gone through the experience of 2020 together, and we see the massive impact data and analytics have had in our lives. But, everyone is on a different journey, with different goals at different stages.

Our #BI & #Data Trends for 2021 are in. Check out the latest post from @Dansommer.

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