Like any industry, business intelligence (BI) and data analytics experience constant change fueled by innovative new technology — and increasing demand from organizations aiming to best capitalize on their stored data.
One notable example here was the jump from legacy BI systems requiring data specialists to self-service analytics. The availability of intuitive, user-friendly data analytics tools meant everyone from marketers to HR managers could crunch their own numbers as needed rather than having to sit idly by waiting for static reports to hit their desks.
Research firm Gartner even predicted that by 2019, the output from non-technical business users would start to surpass the output from professional data scientists, thanks in no small part to this increased access to self-service BI tools. Many of these tools operate using search-driven analytics, so employees can essentially type in exactly what they’re seeking using natural language and wait for the system to return relevant results.
But now there’s something even newer on the self-service analytics scene: Conversational analytics. Platforms like ThoughtSpot are now enabling business users to speak their queries aloud, using the power of voice to ask questions and get answers from within stored data.
Is this the next big thing in the world of BI? What can organizations expect if they decide to implement conversational data analysis into their workflows?
Prioritizing Convenience in a Voice-Driven World
One of the most basic reasons conversational analytics is poised to revolutionize what’s “the norm” in BI is because we’re living in a progressively voice-driven world — at home and at work.
As TechCrunch reports, analysts predict the number of digital voice assistants in use will triple by 2023, from 2.5 billion in use at the end of 2018 to 8 billion. This includes smartphone assistants, like Siri and Google Assistant, as well as smart speakers and TVs.
Put simply: People are getting used to technology’s ability to respond to voice commands. The days of needing to type queries into a search engine are over for many. Digital voice assistants are increasingly becoming almost second nature.
How is this proclivity for voice-enabled technology affecting data analytics? Positive user experience (UX) design is all about creating simple and intuitive interfaces to help business users get from point A to wherever they want to go. If people are already harnessing voice-controlled technology to get what they need in other areas of their lives, then it only makes sense to give them the option to do so at work, too.
Voice Analytics Can Boost BI Adoption
Analytics adoption has been an ongoing challenge since the advent of BI. Companies can invest as much time and money as they want into deploying a given platform, but they’re only going to see return value if employees actually adopt the tools — using them to drill down into data, discover actionable insights and make more informed decisions.
According to CIO Network for Forbes, voice will be the next interface in data analytics because adoption rates in enterprises are still too low, and the solution that will increase adoption rates “is to broaden access, beyond the desktop to a new type of interface.”
Employees are prone to use what’s easy, understandable and reliable. When business users feel confident using BI tools — and are able to get answers quickly without hassle — they’re more likely to do so as a regular part of their workflows. This is when enterprises will see their adoption rates soar because employees have no reason not to embrace something as simple as conversational analytics.
It certainly looks like conversational analytics is the next big thing in the world of BI. So the challenge for companies becomes choosing the right tech, deploying it and getting employees on board with speaking their queries.
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