- Data and analytics will morph into a core business function in 2021, as companies infuse these capabilities into current practices, Gartner said as one of its Top 10 Trends in Data and Analytics, 2021 report, published Tuesday.
- Throughout 2021, companies will see data and analytics as a shared business asset connected to business results, according to the report. Data silos will begin to break down as central and federated data and analytics teams improve their collaboration, Gartner said.
- Disruption stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic led data and analytics leaders to "identify key technology trends and prioritize those with the biggest potential impact on their competitive advantage," said Rita Sallam, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in the release.
Data can help businesses overcome disruption, responding to everything from consumer demand to logistics challenges. Real-time information became even more important during the pandemic, as visibility helps supply chains react and adjust to uncertainty and volatility.
Infusing clean data into business processes, with assistance from artificial intelligence and machine learning, can be a game changer for companies, according to Angelic Gibson, CIO at AvidXchange.
"It's going to create efficiencies across the board," said Gibson. "It's going to open up new revenue streams that we probably hadn't considered before."
Companies such as Wayfair are already carrying out this playbook. The retailer said data analytics is a part of nearly every role in the organization, a strategy aimed at fueling data literacy throughout the company structure.
"Early in the pandemic, the supply chain was one of the most acute pain points. How do you forecast demand, supply, trucks, staffing, in an entirely unprecedented period of time?" Matthew Hartwig, the company's associate director of product management for data infrastructure, said during a virtual event in January. For Wayfair, one of the answers was sharing supply chain data with consumers, which became a high priority, he added.
Data has also been critical during the pandemic in the healthcare supply chain. Real-time data has helped healthcare systems, distributors, purchasing organizations, and state and federal governments manage supplies and model staffing needs.
For example, tracking the number of emergency medical services calls helps data company ESO foreshadow the rate of positive diagnoses and hospital admissions for COVID-19, which can affect hospital staffing and usage of personal protective equipment.
As organizations demand more data analytics capabilities to compete, more businesses are funding these efforts. Two-thirds of senior executives plan to increase investment in automation and AI as the COVID-19 recovery phase advances, according to a report from McKinsey.
Gartner expects leaders looking to plug data and analytics into their business processes will leverage cloud marketplaces, low-code and no-code solutions to create build analytics applications in a more composable way.
S.L. Fuller, Emma Cosgrove and Deborah Abrams Kaplan contributed to this report.