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        Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

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        The 2021 Market Agenda for Analytics: Converting Data Into Insights

        Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 market agenda for Analytics, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from technology investments to improve business outcomes.

        Market Agenda Logo 2021 (1)

        It’s been exciting to follow innovations in the analytics market, but for businesses, it can be challenging to stay on top of these changes and find ways to operationalize analytics. We craft our annual market agenda using our firm’s knowledge of technology vendors and products as well as our expertise in business requirements. Through this ongoing research, we offer insights and best practices that help both IT and the lines of business understand this dynamic market segment and use these technologies to their maximum potential.

        Our Analytics practice encompasses six focus areas: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Business Intelligence, Embedded Analytics, Natural Language Processing, Process Mining and Streaming Analytics. Our overarching Analytics and Data Benchmark Research explores each of these topics, providing insights to guide decision-making. Here’s our view of how each of these areas will advance in 2021.

        Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

        AI and ML are transforming analytics. Opportunities to take advantage of these technologies will increase over the coming year as vendors automate more AI/ML processes and further incorporate AI/ML capabilities in products. Our upcoming research will explore the extent to which these advances reduce the skills needed to reap the full benefits of AI/ML.

        For an assessment of how your organization stacks up in its use of this technology, take our short Dynamic Insights survey on Machine Learning.

        Business Intelligence

        Business intelligence produces insights from data to guide decision-making, employing an increasing variety of analytic, presentation and deployment techniques. Today’s sophisticated analytic needs require integration of data and analytics processes. These processes are often supplemented with AI/ML-based assistance to enable non-technical workers to use these tools more effectively. This year we will continue to study how software vendors are incorporating these changes and how well organizations are able to adopt these advances.

        Embedded Analytics


        Segregated analytics and business processes are not uncommon, but the resulting analysis is less insightful than can be derived when the two are integrated. Organizations gain a more comprehensive business view through the data that comes from embedding analytics in business processes.

        We assert that by 2022, more than one-half of line-of-business personnel will have immediate access to cross-functional analytics embedded in their activities and processes helping to make operational decision-making more efficient and effective. Throughout 2021, enterprise software developers and application vendors will continue to refine embedded analytics, as BI vendors hone their application programming interfaces to enable custom and embedded analytics.

        Natural Language Processing

        Conversational computing is becoming an increasingly common part of user interfaces. Smart speakers, mobile assistants and chatbots are propelling consumer interest in natural language capabilities. NLP generates narratives based on a set of data values, using text and voice as inputs to access information.

        Many BI vendors have developed their initial NLP capabilities. Future enhancement by ML will improve language recognition, making NLP more accurate and easier to use over time. We continue to explore these issues in our Natural Language Processing Dynamic Insights research, studying these advances and how organizations are embracing them.

        Process Mining


        Most business processes are supported by software applications. These applications provide a lens into the multitude of operational processes in an organization. In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of a new category of technology that mines the information and statistics collected through these processes. We assert that through 2022, one in four organizations will look to streamline their operations by exploring process mining. For 2021, we have added a focus area to study how this information can be analyzed to better understand and improve the operations of an organization. Watch for a new Dynamic Insights study in this area later this year.

        Streaming Analytics

        Data now streams into organizations from myriad sources, among them social media feeds and internet-of-things devices. The process of using that data is evolving as the amount and frequency of data collection increases. Including streaming data in analytical efforts enhances operational activities and processes to better support real-time decision-making and help make organizations more agile. We will continue to study these issues in our Streaming Data Dynamic Insights research.


        Analytics is having a major impact across lines of business. It’s changing the customer experience, allowing organizations to use data to optimize engagement. It’s transforming finance operations, providing insights on performance and enabling more forward-looking planning. It’s improving hiring and retention as part of the human capital management process. Sales, marketing and supply chain functions also stand to benefit from the context and guidance that well-implemented analytics can provide. Through our 2021 market agenda for Analytics, we will continue our relentless focus on helping organizations realize the valuable operational improvements that can come to light through effective data analysis.

        Subscribe to our Ventana Research community to stay up-to-date on our 2021 research efforts. Visit our analytics expertise and topic areas for a detailed agenda and our continuously updated 90-day research calendar as well as additional research facts and best practices.




        David Menninger
        Executive Director, Technology Research

        David Menninger leads technology software research and advisory for Ventana Research, now part of ISG. Building on over three decades of enterprise software leadership experience, he guides the team responsible for a wide range of technology-focused data and analytics topics, including AI for IT and AI-infused software.


        Our Analyst Perspective Policy

        • Ventana Research’s Analyst Perspectives are fact-based analysis and guidance on business, industry and technology vendor trends. Each Analyst Perspective presents the view of the analyst who is an established subject matter expert on new developments, business and technology trends, findings from our research, or best practice insights.

          Each is prepared and reviewed in accordance with Ventana Research’s strict standards for accuracy and objectivity and reviewed to ensure it delivers reliable and actionable insights. It is reviewed and edited by research management and is approved by the Chief Research Officer; no individual or organization outside of Ventana Research reviews any Analyst Perspective before it is published. If you have any issue with an Analyst Perspective, please email them to

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