Is Augmented Analytics the Future of BI?

Is augmented analytics the future of business intelligence?
Is augmented analytics the future of business intelligence?

As companies and industries seek to thrive in a rapidly changing world, data analytics has become a go-to source for actionable insights. Retailers employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) to personalize recommendations, optimize pricing, and automate supply chain management. Healthcare systems have improved their diagnostic and pattern-recognition capabilities through machine learning algorithms that empower everything from personalized treatment plans to robot-assisted surgeries. 

When it comes to the technology applications that will define the future of business intelligence, augmented analytics rise to the top of the list. Augmented analytics combines artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms for essential business intelligence tasks, including data preparation analysis and visualization.

Consider some of the ways that artificial intelligence has already evolved in the business world, the role augmented analytics is playing, and the specific benefits of augmented analytics.


AI Evolution in Business: Past and Present 

While the concept of artificial intelligence may feel somewhat new, the field actually came about in the 1950s. In the decades since, AI capabilities have grown in monumental ways, rendering the technology imperative for modern organizations. Some of the key developments in AI that have had a direct impact on business include:

  • Machine Learning: This AI development processes large datasets rapidly, employing algorithms designed to learn from the data. As they do so, the models they produce improve accuracy, enabling better business decisions.
  • Deep Learning: A subset of machine learning, deep learning is the AI application that performs advanced functions such as fraud detection, natural language processing, and customer activity analysis.
  • Security Analysis: Developers have created AI systems that recognize cyber threats via pattern recognition. Additionally, these applications can analyze the data to find the source of the threat and provide key information for preventing future attacks. 

AI can also power key business functions such as customer relationship management, research, and online chat for customers. 


Augmented Analytics: Understanding the Future of AI 

As professionals look for ways to remain competitive and informed in the coming years, augmented analytics offers them an in-depth yet accessible way to comprehend their organization’s data. 

Augmented analytics uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance how humans interact with data in context. Technological research and consulting firm Gartner is credited with originally defining augmented analytics as follows:

Augmented analytics enables technologies such as machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation and explanation to expand how people explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms. It also augments the expert and citizen data scientists by automating many aspects of data science, machine learning, and AI model development, management and deployment.

Augmented analytics leverages the most powerful AI tools to empower key business functions such as forecasting and decision-making. Consider a few examples of augmented analytics creating positive outcomes.


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Ease and Consistency: Company-Wide Insights at Intuit

Global technology platform Intuit serves over 100 million customers through its well-known software products including TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp. As a company serving over 100 million customers, Intuit generates so much data that the organization struggled to access meaningful, consistent company-wide metrics. 

Leaders at Intuit decided to try Qlik Sense, a data visualization and discovery tool that leverages augmented analytics to create interactive reports and dashboards. Problems that the company had not been able to tackle—such as leaders building presentations around slide decks with old data, disparate data sources producing inconsistent metrics, and confusing visualizations—were immediately addressed.

Now, Intuit employees have access to easy-to-understand visualizations of real-time data. The company has seen widespread adoption of the technology as leaders and employees alike experience the friendly user interface and appreciate the consistent metrics. 


Reduced Costs and Business Growth: Streamlined Reporting at Classic Travel

Sri Lankan travel value company Classic Travel needed to pick up the pace of its reporting processes. With data in multiple systems and decision-makers too often left waiting for necessary metrics, the company began to look for a business analytics platform. They chose Oracle Analytics Cloud, which leverages technology applications such as machine learning and natural language processing to provide comprehensive analytics.

The positive results of unifying business intelligence through Oracle Analytics included business growth, increased competitiveness, enhanced decision-making, and reduced operating costs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, augmented analytics empowered the Classic Travel team to find travel opportunities for customers in a turbulent time, enabling them to forecast post-pandemic business growth accurately.  


Augmented Analytics: The New Norm

As business leaders strategize, they increasingly rely on augmented analytics to provide meaningful insights. While prior generations of business intelligence have provided enhanced abilities to analyze data and even leverage that data to predict and forecast future trends, augmented analytics elevate business intelligence in new, powerful ways:

  • Automatically sourcing data from disparate databases, platforms, and tools
  • Empowering users—even those who are not tech-savvy—to pull the reports they need as they interact with a conversational user interface that employs natural language queries
  • Providing accessible and valuable visualizations

“These data and analytics trends can help organizations and society deal with disruptive change, radical uncertainty and the opportunities they bring over the next three years,” explains Rita Sallam, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. “Data and analytics leaders must proactively examine how to leverage these trends into mission-critical investments that accelerate their capabilities to anticipate, shift and respond.”

As business leaders realize the high value augmented analytics can bring, the market is growing significantly. From 2022 to 2023, the global augmented analytics market grew at a compound annual growth rate of 19.1%. The rate is expected to increase even more between 2023 and 2024, with experts projecting a compounded growth rate of 24.4%. 

This high rate of growth points to the increasingly widespread adoption of augmented analytics throughout various industries. 


Benefits of Augmented Analytics 

The benefits of augmented analytics are many from improved-decision making and cost savings to increased efficiency and improved strategic planning. Look at several ways augmented analytics empower companies, organizations, and business leaders.


Improved Decision-Making

One of augmented analytics's primary benefits is how the technology can instantly gather and assess data from multiple sources. By applying machine learning to this data, augmented analytics quickly generates rich, meaningful insights into specific pieces of data and the context of the data. 

Take Carsome, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform. A leader in the used car industry and customer experience, Carsome wanted to remain on the cutting edge of data-driven decision-making. They turned to an augmented analytics solution from Tableau, and now, Carsome leaders say, they “have the whole story” they need. 

“Getting faster insights to make decisions is the key to success in any business today. We can now easily do drill-down and bottom-up analysis and slicing and dicing the data quickly,” explains Piyush Palkar, Chief Data Officer at Carsome.

Augmented analytics show Carsome where drop-offs occur and help leaders find root causes. The technology also has increased data literacy among Carsome employees, which empowers workers at all levels to participate in making stronger decisions.


Increased Cost Savings

As augmented analytics applications reveal insights and analyses that prior technologies could not, business leaders are equipped with information that helps them identify where unnecessary spending occurs. They can also gain visibility into processes that could be improved, such as aligning inventory with the highest revenue-generating products, which saves their companies money as well. 

The cost savings made possible by augmented analytics are highlighted in supply chain management. In the case of Arpa Industriale, a high-pressure laminate producer, data analytics revealed best practices that led to an extreme reduction in spending. The company reduced its consumption of water, energy, and other resources by 80 percent. As a result, Arpa gained €750,000 in cost savings in production within the first year of implementing their SAP software.


Enhanced Employee Engagement

While data analytics have long been available to business leaders and key stakeholders, they have not always been produced in ways that are easy to read or accessible. Augmented analytics addresses this problem in a few major ways. First, augmented analytics technologies make analytics simpler to use. The applications typically feature intuitive additions to self-service Business Intelligence (BI) that are easy for the tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy alike to use. 

Additionally, machine learning and natural language processing ask simple questions that help users generate the insights and visualizations they want. The results—whether charts, graphs, or dashboards—are easy to navigate and read, which increases the number of employees who use the technology. 

In the case of Audibene, one of the world’s fastest-growing hearing care companies, augmented analytics software Domo greatly increased employee access to and usage of data and reports. Before implementing the technology, Domo’s data was stuck in silos and reporting processes were time-consuming among the few who worked with data within the company. But Domo’s intuitive user experience and data visualizations increased employee adoption significantly. Now, of the 190 employees with Domo access, 75 percent log in to the software every day. 


Elevated Customer Experience

Through heightened uses of predictive, descriptive, and diagnostic analytics, augmented analytics technologies are helping companies develop strategies that lead to customer acquisition and retention. Augmented analytics will be an integral component of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the years to come for several reasons. 

Augmented analytics provide insights into accurate markers of customer satisfaction and behavior. These insights give business leaders the information they need to understand and address the customers’ needs. Augmented analytics can also enhance the customer service process through chatbots, analytics that addresses call volumes, and customer troubleshooting. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, applications can improve their responses to customers—both in terms of response time and the information and support they provide. 

Goya Foods, for example, increased its customer satisfaction through a technology solution. from TIBCO that combines ten data sources and makes information easy for customers to find and understand.

“Before TIBCO, to place an order was a two-week process,” explains Rakesh Raj, Supply Chain Engineer and Project Manager. “A customer would have to get data from 10 different sources and talk to many people. With TIBCO MDM, all they do is look at one source and click a button.”


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