If we look at the current state of word processing then we may gain insight into what the future state of BI may look like. Today we are constantly word processing, although we don’t call it that. Sometimes before I even get out of bed, I do some word processing in the form of a text message. I create a message, move words around, spell check and even add an image or link. I don’t have anyone special in the bed next to me to help me perform these tasks (my wife is a special person to me but she doesn’t help me with my early morning text messages). I also don’t really think much about the complexity of what I’m doing. The word processing specialists are gone but they all still have jobs. Some moved on to run other complex technical systems, others redefined the value added services they provided to align closer to business outcomes. This is where I believe we are heading with BI and personal analytics. Untrained users will be able to combine data from disparate sources and create compelling, interactive content to discover insights and share with others. Just like the word processing specialist, BI professionals will need to evolve from the technical specialist to business experts or advanced analytics specialists. This is already happening today but it is only going to accelerate. As BI professionals we have a choice: we can let it happen to us or we can lead the way to change.
How are you going to evolve your role in 2015 to adapt to a self-service centric BI landscape?