Looking Ahead: Business Intelligence Trends for 2021

2020 is drawing to a close – a year that challenged us, made us take a critical look at our processes, and showed us that we are more resilient than we thought we were.

While everything seemed uncertain – technology is where businesses found certainty.

As we prepare to welcome the new year, we take a look at the key business intelligence trends that will dominate in the coming year and share our predictions.

AI Operationalization

There is a shift happening when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) – companies are now moving from piloting to operationalizing artificial intelligence. In fact, research from Gartner shows that by the end of 2024, 75% of organizations would have made this switch!

AI is no longer just an emerging technology that is being tested out. Today, it is transforming business processes, optimizing manufacturing activities, and helping decode information to facilitate business growth.

In the past few months, the impact of AI has been felt quite strongly in sectors such as healthcare. The technology has been a valuable tool that has helped researchers and those in the healthcare industry interpret and make sense of the COVID-19 data pouring in from different sources.

For instance, researchers at the University of Toronto, leveraged AI and machine learning to identify existing drugs that could be effective against COVID-19. As the volume of data increases, machine learning algorithms will become better equipped to help us deal with this healthcare crisis.

eCommerce Growth

Another sector that is experiencing unprecedented growth is eCommerce.

According to Statistics Canada, retail e-commerce sales nearly doubled from February to May 2020 – witnessing an increase of +99.3%.

As consumer spending rises online, so does the competition in this space.

The real challenge for businesses is to understand changing consumer behaviours. This is why it is essential to equip yourself with tools that can help you analyze these behavioural shifts, get real-time insights, and make data-backed decisions.

Remote Work

Remote Work is increasing and with COVID-19 still being in the picture in 2021, it should be a key area of focus for your business.

Research from Statistics Canada shows that 4 in 10 Canadian workers are in jobs that can be done from home. This percentage is even higher in fields such as finance and insurance (85%) and professional, scientific and technical services (84%).

While remote work seems like a great opportunity as it helps keeps employees safe, reduces requirements to have large office set-ups, and promotes work-life balance – it does come with its own set of challenges. Privacy and security being the top two.

Processes and protocols have to be put into place in areas of security, privacy and identity management, to ensure that your data is kept safe and you’re meeting compliance requirements.

Supply Chain Innovations 

There are three key challenges associated with supply chains in a Post-COVID-19 world – visibility, velocity, and variability.

By embracing Demand-Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP), companies can become better equipped to deal with the challenges created by COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions. As the name suggests, DDMRP relies on demand, not just forecasts, hence, it helps you create a more flexible supply chain.

Industry 4.0 Adoption

Industry 4.0 technologies are another key area of focus for manufacturers. As these technologies enable agility and automation, they can help companies deal with changing economic situations.

Companies are beginning to realize that Industry 4.0 isn’t as complicated and is completely customizable. As it is a combination of technologies, you can always choose the things you feel are most impactful for your business.

While uncertainty will most likely be there in 2021, leveraging technology solutions can help you optimize your workflows, mitigate risks, and achieve end-to-end transformation. To see how we can help you navigate trends in 2021 and beyond, reach out to us today for a consultation.

What global business trends do you think we’ll see in 2021? Share with us on social media. SHEA Global is on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.