Andreas Bartsch, Head of Service Delivery at PBT Group
Last month, Gartner published its ‘Top 10 Trends in Data and Analytics for 2020’ where it brought attention to the decline of the dashboard thanks to an increase in more dynamic data stories. So, even though many organisations are still heavily reliant on their dashboards to access daily, weekly, and monthly insights as required, it seems the writing is on the wall for this traditional process.
Already, the technologies and techniques are available that enable mechanisms for people to not have to continually monitor their dashboards. The likes of natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), all contribute in their own way to the creation of more dynamic, data-driven story telling. The advent of augmented analytics helps deliver insights in ways previously unimagined and significantly faster than what a daily dashboard can achieve.
The Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and 5G are further enablers to update data in more agile ways. IoT sees more devices capturing data, while doing so at the edge gives rise to events-driven decisions with 5G enhancing the speed of delivery. Combined with AI and NLP, more effective decision-making is enabled effectively rendering dashboards irrelevant.
The streaming content captured and delivered by these technologies result in near real-time processing. For instance, automation can prompt a person to action immediately as opposed to waiting for a batch update to go through to populate a dashboard for review the following morning. NLP introduces a layer of ‘human capabilities’ when it comes to interpreting text, social media, and other intertextual information. Statistics indicate that the NLP market will increase to almost $44 billion by 2025 reflecting just how important this will become to reinvent the decision-making process.
Despite the technology being available to replace dashboards completely with near real-time, events-driven decision-making, many organisations are not at that level of maturity yet. These are the ones still coming to terms with just laying the right foundation.
While many business leaders understand the need to modernise their traditional data platforms, it will still take some time to do so completely. For them, it is about overcoming the short-term challenges associated with modernisation before being able to completely embrace near real-time analytics and the associated impact it will have on dashboarding. One must also consider the cyclical nature of the available data and its readiness when feeding the traditional dashboard, as some information only becomes available on a monthly basis.
Putting it to the test
Even so, the use cases of this augmented data storytelling could make it too compelling to ignore for too long. For example, organisations can leverage this from brand awareness and market research perspectives where they can analyse customer sentiment and comments in near real-time to gauge the success of a campaign.
Moreover, when it comes to competitor analysis, an organisation can now get information in near real-time instead of monthly reports. As with internal decisioning, augmented data storytelling can deliver event-driven scenarios to help guide the process on product development, research, and campaign management.
Beyond an organisational level, real-time intelligence gathering can be done on stocks as well. AI can now prompt immediate action when something happens at an organisation that could significantly impact the bottom-line. No more waiting for daily, weekly, or monthly insights to make investment decisions.
While the death of the dashboard will likely not happen in the coming months, the signs are there that the reliance on them will significantly change in the future. As more organisations mature in their data journeys in 2021, augmented data storytelling could very well be one of the most significant disruptions to hit the market.