2020 Data Trends and Predictions

As the second decade of this millennium draws to a close, it’s only natural to wonder what the future has in store. The world of data has grown exponentially over the last ten years. In 2019 alone, we saw the role data and analytics play within companies continue to expand across departments. More and more teams are now looking to data to help drive successful decision making and assist with critical job functions.

A new generation of data pioneers

While we’d expect to see financial institutions, e-commerce websites, and telecommunications companies using analytics to govern their strategies and operations, libraries, cruise lines, video game studios, firefighters, and even tennis players are beginning to harness the power of data to plan for a better future.

Forrester reports that data-driven companies grow more than 30% annually on average. Leading companies are capitalizing on data and analytics to widen the gap between them and their competition.

Mind the data skills gap

But despite universal agreement that data has the power to improve decision making across all parts of an organization, many companies are struggling to reap its benefits. According to a study by NewVantage Partners, only 31% of executives feel they have been able to build a “data-driven culture.” And according to Gartner, 87% of companies have low BI and analytics maturity.

With the benefits so clear, why are companies having such a rough time realizing the promise of a data-driven future? There are a few factors at play, but the most common reason is a widening skills gap. Few people within organizations have the technical expertise necessary to access, analyze, and draw insights from data directly.

Instead, those with domain expertise across departments must rely on and compete for the time and resources of a limited pool of data engineers, scientists, and analysts. It’s an inefficient system that only grows more complex as the volume and scope of data continue to increase.


of companies have low BI and analytics maturity

The future of data is within reach

But there is hope. A new generation of tools and technologies is on the horizon. They hold the potential to transform the speed and ease at which companies can extract value from their data and form impactful insights—all while maintaining evolving security and compliance standards.

We’ve uncovered eight data trends that will shape the way businesses use data in 2020 and beyond:

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Data regulation is sweeping the nation

. Data
is sweeping
the nation

A wave of data-privacy legislation is sweeping the country, and companies will need to pay close attention if they want to remain compliant and avoid legal vulnerabilities.

A perfect storm of scandals, security breaches, and whistle-blower revelations thrust data security and privacy into the spotlight over the last decade. From Edward Snowden to the Cambridge Analytica exposé, the issue of data privacy became part of the public consciousness. For the first time, people were made aware of just how much personal data gets collected and how it’s used. The era of tech companies regulating themselves drew swiftly to a close.

Then there was a series of very high profile breaches that affected hundreds of millions of people. In 2018 alone, over 1 billion people had their data exposed from security breaches. Facebook, T-Mobile, Quora, Google, Orbitz, and dozens of other companies all had sensitive customer data compromised.

But the defining moment was the enactment of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018. This set of European regulations had far-reaching effects that went well beyond the continent. Although the laws are designed to protect the information of EU residents, they affect not only European companies, but any organization processing the data of those EU residents. Any company doing business involving European citizens has to comply with GDPR or risk significant fines and penalties.

Over 1 billion people

had their personal data exposed thanks to security breaches.

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