Regardless of the size of your business or what industry you're in, we've all become increasingly reliant on analytics. It's easy to understand why, as analytics have the ability to help you make better decisions, improve employee engagement, keep customers satisfied, streamline workflows, stay ahead of your competitors, and bolster your bottom line.
But analytics can be overwhelming if you aren't staying on top of the latest trends. What you get out of data processes, after all, is only as good as what you put in. Investing in every type of analytics is an exhausting strain, but here are four types of analytics that I believe you need to pay close attention to if you want to succeed this year.
1. A.I. Augmentation Analytics
A.I. augmentation is the partnership between artificial intelligence and human operations. This can enhance human intelligence and be applied to a number of areas in real time. No wonder Gartner is predicting that A.I. augmentation will spur $2.9 trillion worth of business value by 2021, along with 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally.
Examples would be virtual assistants (like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, or Cortana), smart home devices, online customer support, security surveillance, or fraud detection that use algorithms to steer you in the right direction without completely replacing human interaction.
Take, for example, my company Calendar. It uses machine learning to make smart suggestions on when you should schedule a meeting. It can even recommend what type of meeting to plan and the people you should invite. While that takes away most of the work involved with planning, both the facilitator and the invitees still need to accept and confirm the invite. What if you need to reschedule at the last minute? Calendar can suggest a new date if you let it know that the scheduled event has been canceled.
2. Biometric Analytics
"Biometrics involve the measurement and analysis of a person's physical or behavioral characteristics," reports CB Insights. "Because biometric data -- such as a person's fingerprint or voice -- is unique to each individual, it's useful for authentication and access control." That's why it's used by companies to unlock your phone or automobile. But other industries, such as banking and health care, are using the tech to provide faster and more secure service.
Additionally, biometrics can be used to give customers a more personalized experience. Using facial recognition, a restaurant or a store could identify who you are and then make recommendations based on your past orders.
However, I'm most interested in the potential biometrics have for productivity. Some companies, such as Humanyze, while they do not sell this technology anymore, used to create employee badges that contained RFID and near field communication sensors, an accelerometer, a microphone, and an infrared detector that could trace face-to-face interactions. The microphones on these badges were especially unique, as they would actually measure when employees were speaking and not speaking. After this data had been collected, it would be sent to managers, who could then analyze it and help employees understand how they were spending their time and where they could improve.
3. Prescriptive Analytics
When it comes to business analytics, we often focus on the "big four": descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive.
Descriptive analytics use past information to describe a current situation. Diagnostic analytics go a little further in-depth to explain why a specific event happened or make sense of emerging trends. Predictive analytics, as the name implies, use machine learning and existing data to predict future outcomes. But prescriptive analytics deserve special mention.
As defined in TechRepublic, as opposed to just "predicting what will happen, prescriptive analysis tweaks certain variables to achieve the best possible outcome, and then prescribes that course of action."
Suffice to say, that could have huge implications for business owners. In fact, with prescriptive analytics, Klipfolio claims your small business can enhance its recruiting efforts, improve its marketing campaigns, and smartly plan its expansion.
4. Next-Gen Embedded Analytics
Between more people working remotely and their using the same apps and devices for both their personal and work lives, this trend should be on your radar. But what is embedded analytics?
"This style of concise embedding doesn't force users to toggle between separate analytical interfaces -- such as full-page reports and dashboards -- and the transactional and productivity applications where people do their work," explains Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Doug Henschen. "The approach brings data-driven insight to more users because the analytics are right there in the context of transactions, and it's a better option for supporting specific business decisions."
This allows you to analyze data throughout your routine workflow so you can make more informed decisions in real time.
If you want to thrive this year and beyond, you need to dive deep into analytics. To prevent getting overwhelmed, begin with these four. They'll teach you more than you ever expected about your own company.