Top Business Intelligence Trends in 2024

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Take a peek into the latest trends in the business intelligence space. By exploring these areas, you can boost your skill set with in-demand tools that employers are likely to look for in upcoming years.

[Featured Image] A group of colleagues sit in a business meeting wearing virtual reality headsets and experimenting with VR, one of the top business intelligence trends of 2024.

As the business world becomes increasingly digital, business intelligence professionals need tools and practices that optimize their expanding data sources conveniently and efficiently. To meet this need, artificial intelligence, data science, self-service applications, cloud-based technologies, and more have become hot topics in business intelligence circles. Let’s explore a few of them here to keep on your radar in 2024, along with some tips on how to stay current on the latest innovations.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is a type of analysis that uses business-related strategies and technologies to assess, process, and interpret business information. This type of information helps businesses understand the current state of their organization and make informed decisions on how to take actions that are likely to yield their intended results.

Leveraging business intelligence insights offers several benefits to employers and employees, including strengthening performance and improving efficiency. For example, insights from business intelligence metrics can help employers understand where supply chain function might be breaking down or provide a snapshot of consumer products performing above or below expectations.

Business intelligence vs. business analytics

While you might hear business intelligence and business analytics used interchangeably, they have distinct focuses. Business intelligence focuses on what has already happened and what is happening now. It uses historical and real-time data to help organizations run their day-to-day operations and present information about the current status. BI is descriptive, helping you decide on what you should do now. For example, BI metrics might tell you which branch of your company is performing the least effectively, helping you make real-time decisions about how to boost operations.

On the other hand, business analytics focuses on modeling data to make future predictions. It uses data to understand why things happened and what might happen next. Business analytics are more predictive and prescriptive, offering forecasts and recommendations for actions that can shape future performance. For example, you might use business analytics to analyze the performance of a particular product in different geographic regions so you can predict where a new product would perform best.

Trends in BI often represent new technological advancements, evolving business focuses, and the emergence of new BI software and data types. These trends dynamically represent what is happening in the business world, such as where tools and strategies adapt to meet new demands.

As organizations work to increase their agility and responsiveness, trends show a growing emphasis on real-time analytics and the ability to turn data insights into action items quickly. For instance, the rise of new software helps companies expand their analytics capabilities, such as integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning functions to understand big data sets quickly. 

Finding the latest trends in BI can help your organization stay competitive and maximize your ability to use your data. While trends continually shift by nature, the following areas have rapidly risen in demand and application.   

1. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

AI advances BI through improved content generation, automation, and predictive analytics. Businesses can use AI tools to automate their marketing strategies, improve the quality of content they provide users, and reduce the human effort needed on the software coding side. In tandem with this, machine learning algorithms help businesses better classify information, detect abnormal activity (such as fraud), and more effectively manage and clean data.

2. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

AR and VR technologies can create immersive data visualization experiences. This allows stakeholders to explore data in a three-dimensional space, providing new perspectives. For example, a business might be able to visualize how a product would look in different settings or how it would fit with existing products without needing tangible items.

3. Self-service BI

Self-service BI tools help business professionals without a technological background to create reports and conduct analyses. These tools are becoming more sophisticated, offering advanced analytical capabilities through user-friendly interfaces and reducing the need for specialized training. As more professionals recognize the importance of BI insights, you’re likely to see software designed to help users streamline the process rise in popularity.

4. Data science

Data science methods are increasingly integrated into BI platforms. These methods promote more sophisticated analyses, such as predictive modeling and statistical analysis within BI tools.  As BI platforms expand in use and importance, an increase in demand for data scientists and those with tools to extend data-driven insights is likely to follow.

5. Cloud-based applications

Cloud-based BI applications transition data from a physical hardware device to cloud storage. This increases the scale at which BI tools can store, access, and adjust data, helping organizations respond quickly to changing needs and collect a broader range of data types. Cloud-based applications show many benefits in BI settings, including easy deployment, automated updates, scalability, security, and lower cost.  

In coming years, you’ll likely see more multi-cloud setups, helping businesses better store and work with their data collaboratively. In some cases, companies may choose to launch their own cloud-based BI site, helping stakeholders globally access sites designed specifically for their organization. 

6. Edge computing

As more devices become connected, edge computing allows for local data processing on devices. This decentralizes data storage and processing, reducing data analysis latency and speeding up the time between data collection and insights. This advancement is significant in sectors such as health care, where keeping track of patient and provider data in real time is highly important. 

7. Mobile BI

More people are working on their phones than ever, especially as the workforce transitions to remote and hybrid models in many organizations. Mobile BI allows user to access their BI dashboards and reports on mobile devices, supporting a more flexible work environment and allowing professionals to make decisions from anywhere.

8. Natural language processing (NLP)

The rise of NLP has allowed computers and humans to engage conversationally. It also will enable computers to assess written text more accurately. For businesses, professionals can ask questions about their data as they arise and get insights instantaneously without having to shift through the data manually. This expands the use of BI tools beyond people with data analytics backgrounds, as these NLP tools can facilitate easier interaction with data and existing BI tools for people of all backgrounds. 

9. Automated storytelling

As BI tools evolve, automated storytelling is becoming increasingly popular. Essentially, automated storytelling uses AI and ML algorithms to automatically provide visual and textual descriptions of business data so that the complete picture of the data can be shared with a broad audience. This could improve the speed at which new information comes in, and the company could gain shareable insights from this data.  

10. Partner ecosystems

Partner ecosystems are rising in BI, connecting software tech companies and collaborating during the design and implementation phases. This joint interface helps streamline the business process steps and ensures all partners have access to the tools they need to succeed in their part of the operation. Many platforms already offer partner ecosystems businesses use, including Microsoft Azure, Salesforce AppExchange, and Atlassian Marketplace.

You can stay up-to-date with business intelligence trends in several ways, each of which can help you learn about exciting innovations and emerging spaces. By remaining engaged in the community, you can expand your skill set with the latest tools and ensure you set your business up for success. 

A few ways to keep current with the latest BI trends include the following:

  • Reading BI-specific publications and forums: Subscribe to and read BI-focused publications online and in print. These include academic journals, blogs, and magazines offering deep dives into BI topics. 

  • Attending BI conferences and workshops: Conferences and workshops are excellent opportunities to hear about the latest research, tools, and case studies directly from BI professionals.

  • Engaging with industry leaders: Following and engaging with industry leaders on social media platforms and listening to podcasts can provide insights into emerging trends and the discussions surrounding them.

Boost your skills with Coursera.

Business intelligence tools can help enhance operational efficiency, improve your organization’s understanding of its customers, and help you identify the market for new services and products. The BI landscape continues evolving, so keeping up with the latest trends is essential. 

Engaging in continual learning is equally vital to keep your skills sharp and up-to-date. Coursera is a learning platform industry professionals and academic thought leaders use to teach users in-demand skills to enter their chosen careers successfully. If you want to prepare for a job in the business intelligence space or learn more, consider taking the Tableau Business Intelligence Analyst Professional Certificate or the Google Business Intelligence Professional Professional Certificate, both available on Coursera.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.