The latest release of Power BI gives us a great opportunity to look at how some smart folks in the industry view the latest trends in business intelligence.  Here are five ones you should know:

BI for everyone

BI used to be the sole province of data experts in IT or information analyst specialists. Now the move is toward democratizing the access and analysis of data across the organization. Today, a data analyst could be a product manager, a line-of-business executive, or a sales director. Browser-based analytics now enable business users themselves to answer impromptu questions that are relevant to their expertise, and then create sophisticated visualizations to share with others. More companies are recognizing BI for everyone as a strategic advantage. They’re supporting business users with tools to help empower them as data analysts.
What better tool for empowering business users than Power BI? With features that simplify accessing datasets, creating visualizations, and sharing reports, Power BI enables users to integrate data analysis in their work, whatever their role.  When everyone can run analyses, amazing insights and discoveries can happen.

Self-service analytics

Industry analysts now predict that within two years, most business users in organizations will have access to self-service tools to prepare data for analysis. Such self-service BI solutions can transform business users from data consumers to active data analysts, reducing the time and complexity of data gathering and preparation, and shifting the monopoly on data extraction, processing, and visualization from IT to a model of data analysis across the organization.
Power BI is a complete self-service data analysis tool available right now, enabling all users to make smart decisions with data. Connect with ease to internal data sources and external data services, such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and QuickBooks. Process data with drag-and-drop gestures. Use natural language to query datasets and create compelling visualizations. And share your reports with colleagues using content packs. Power BI is at the forefront of tools that help cultivate and strengthen data-savvy knowledge workers.

Real-time analytics

Static reports are giving way to interactive presentations. Interactivity enables business users to explore and answer questions with data updated in real time. Monitoring the latest data helps decision makers respond with accuracy and agility.
With Power BI you’re no longer limited to static presentations. Include real-time data slides in your business presentations. Explore data interactively and flexibly to answer critical business questions on-the-fly. Refresh data in reports and presentations with real-time updates, helping speed insights, and drive faster, informed decision-making.

Data integration

Increases in data volume, velocity, and variety is fueling a trend toward comprehensive BI solutions that process information from multiple sources and in multiple views. Massive amounts of data are now available from disparate sources, increasing the demand for rapid data source integration accessible through simple interfaces.
Businesses are drawing upon huge volumes of unstructured social data to gain insights into customer behavior. Tracking social conversations at scale enables companies to learn when a topic is trending and what their customers are talking about. Insights gleaned from social data analytics lead to responsive optimization of products and services.
Power BI gives business users across the organization an easy-to-use tool to tap into insights hidden in large amounts of data. Whether the data reside in the cloud or on-premises, in structured databases or unstructured data processed by Hadoop, it’s accessible through Power BI. Use the Power BI visualization tools to communicate social trends to colleagues. As social trends evolve, have real-time updates reflected in your visualizations, enabling more agile responses to emerging market changes.

Mobile BI

The workforce is more mobile than ever, and mobile solutions for data analytics are maturing.  Knowledge workers can now access and analyze data from their mobile devices more readily than ever. The trend toward mobile BI solutions will only continue to accelerate.
Power BI enables you to access and modify your dashboards no matter where you are, using touch-enabled native apps for Windows, iOS, and Android. Use the Power BI app to connect to your data, discover insights easily with data alerts, and share them with your team. The Power BI app also enables you to filter and pivot your data in different ways to quickly find answers on the go through your mobile device.
These trends point to the evolution of BI toward making new sources of information accessible, consumable, and meaningful to organizations of all sizes, including those that do not have advanced analytics skills or in-house resources.
The demand for self-service BI tools will spread to more businesses. The increase in big data means more organizations want broadly deployable, easy-to-use, and often cloud-based technologies for query, analysis, and reporting.  Emerging data preparation capabilities now let business users extend self-service to information access, management, and data visualization, enabling them to prepare, integrate, curate, model, and enrich data that’s shareable with colleagues and stakeholders.
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