Augmented analytics, integrated AI, Natural Language Processing, and other emerging tech trends are already changing how we do business.
Technology disruptions are an accepted, even expected, part of doing business today. Given the wide variety of technologies available, it’s not enough for companies to simply know about tech trends. They must understand which emerging trends are or potentially will be applicable to their needs. Future-minded leaders will understand how to make the most of new opportunities by choosing the right tech and giving employees the training needed to use new tools effectively.
With that in mind, let’s look at six technologies that have already begun influencing how we do business – and are likely to do so even more in 2020.
This Year’s Tech Trends to Watch
First, let’s take a look at what’s underpinning many of these trends: data. IDC indicates that within the next five years, data will hit 175 zettabytes. [Source: NetworkWorld] As we all know, within this data are hidden insights that can have a tremendous impact; they simply need bringing out. And for that, we are seeing many organizations turn to AI. In fact, AI adoption is becoming very common, as businesses rely on it to process large amounts of increasingly complex data in near real-time. We could even say that how well a company adopts AI (and other technologies) is a key indicator of how well they will achieve their goals.
With that being said, keep an eye on the progress of the following technologies. You may find yourself using them sooner than you think.
As we’ve already mentioned, AI itself is making the leap from “trend” to “standard”. What we’re looking at for 2020 is the integration of AI with the other technologies below. In some cases, this will be because other technologies are (at least in part) based on AI. For example, a self-driving car relies on sensor data to “see” where it’s going, but it’s AI systems that make the executive decisions.
In a business setting, look for AI to be deployed across multiple use cases. Regular readers of this blog know that AI can improve data processing accuracy and speed, optimize processes, and reduce expenditure and waste. So, we’ll not only be seeing the increased adoption of AI, we’ll be seeing AI partnering with other technologies for greater impact.
Augmented and Real-Time Analytics
Closely related to the subject of AI is data analytics. We’ve had data analytics for decades, but we’re really seeing businesses get on board with its usefulness in the age of Big Data. Specifically, we’re going to see analytics expand in two ways.
- Augmented analytics (i.e. data analytics enhanced with machine learning and Natural Language Processing) will help human users find insights faster than ever before. Augmented analytics is even better at finding patterns within the data and eliminating unintended bias. Expect to see widespread implementation of data analysis tools that make insights readily available to all decision-makers in an organization.
- Real-time analytics are also gaining a lot of momentum in business settings. As cross-channel interactions become the norm, floods of data are coming in. Companies can target new customers and develop new strategies to retain and win back current or lapsed customers – but only when the company can leverage real-time insights. With AI-driven real-time analytics pushing the trend, expect to see data-based marketing activities increase in 2020.
Data as a Service (DaaS)
Data as a Service – where organizations utilize Cloud storage to make their data accessible across the company – has the potential to revolutionize how data is shared between departments. For larger companies (like telecoms), DaaS can also become another revenue source; such companies can monetize their vast data stores by selling or renting data sets to third parties.
If the Cloud centralizes most of our computing activities (think of all the “XYZ-as-a-Service” offerings out there), edge computing is about pushing services to the, well, edge.
Edge computing saves bandwidth and lowers latency by bringing things closer together. If you’ve ever lived in an area that has slow or even dialup internet access, you can appreciate that sometimes having things nearby is a better option than having them across the country. So, edge computing makes sure services are within reach of the people and devices using them. Given that the number of smart devices at the edge of the network is expected to vastly outnumber IT jobs by 2023, it makes sense that we’ll be laying the foundations in 2020.
Machine Learning and Hyper-Automation
Just three years ago, Gartner predicted that 40% of all data science tasks would be automated by 2020. [Source: Gartner] And where there’s automation, you’ll likely find machine learning (ML). ML can extract insights far more quickly than the most skilled analyst, which means organizations that implement it can move faster than those that don’t. Today’s data scientists need to be comfortable working with automation technology; it’s a valuable partner in the race to create scalable business impact.
Closely related to machine learning is hyper-automation, which combines ML with various tools and packaged software (like robotic process automation, AI, and business management tools). Another way to look at it is “automation through replication”, using a mix of technologies and tools to recreate and/or augment human roles and processes within an organization. In this setup, low-value and repetitive tasks can be ‘outsourced’ to automation, while humans can become more engaged with high-value activities like problem solving and creativity.
Natural Language Processing
Finally, look for Natural Language Processing (NLP) to grab more attention in 2020. We’re all familiar with the potentialities of voice assistants, voice search, etc. Now companies are applying NLP to AI- and ML-based tools (like dashboards, chatbots, etc.), thus making them even easier and more intuitive for end users. Tools have already been deployed that use NLP voice search technology to deliver data-backed insights directly into decision-makers’ hands – in real time, with zero waiting. It’s estimated that NLP will be used in 50% of analytics queries in 2020, and 90% of such tools will have AI and Natural Language Generation components. [Source: InformationWeek] Expect NLP to strongly impact how we explore data in the months and years to come.
Building Tomorrow’s Impact with Today’s Tech
Businesses are operating in an age where technology grows, not by the decade or year, but by the month. Knowing which technologies will expand and which are most useful to your organization is critical. Whether you’re interested in coming on board with new tech, enhancing your current setup, or exploring what’s on the bleeding edge of progress, it’s essential that you stay alert to 2020’s top business tech contenders.