8 Analytics Trends to Watch in 2015

Business analytics are becoming 'the air companies breathe and the oceans in which they swim,' according to Deloitte Analytics. These eight trends will dominate the analytics field in 2015.

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8. The Quest for Accuracy

The rapid increase in analytics capabilities over the past several years has made the data brokerage business white hot. That's expected to continue, Deloitte says, but those buying the data will become much more discriminating about what they're sold.

Having performed a study on consumer data collected by data brokers, Lucker says Deloitte found numerous issues within the data that could affect both companies using the data and the consumers the data describes.

"The data is not as accurate or complete as we hoped or expected," Lucker says. "Thirteen of the 80 participants (or 16 percent) reported no information was available at all. Despite trying multiple addresses, almost one-sixth of our sample found no information."

And even when data existed, it wasn't necessarily accurate. For instance, he points to an unmarried person with a Ph.D.; the data described the person as a married high-school graduate. There were many more examples.

When it comes to big data, those in the know understand that it can be directionally accurate in aggregate but individually inaccurate. It's inaccurate and valuable at the same time. But the more accurate it is, the more valuable it potentially becomes, especially for companies trying their hands at micromarketing and micro-segmentation at the consumer level.

Today's data from data brokers may be better than nothing, but buyers want and expect greater accuracy.

Bubbles to Watch

Looking farther out, there are a number of trends that Deloitte believes will become the topics du jour next year, including facial recognition and geospatial monitoring, citizen backlash and analytics driving the physical world.

Technology is already capable, mostly, of tagging friends in photographs and catching criminals by tracking their movements via security cameras. Deloitte believes that the explosion in data from inexpensive cameras and cell phones will be used to train machine learning systems that will lead to plenty of innovation in the field.

At the same time, Deloitte believes the combination of government monitoring, data breaches and "creepy" commercial efforts will sooner or later lead the public to demand enforceable accountability for those who collect or disseminate personal data.

Finally, technology that controls physical activities, from Google's self-driving car to the Nest thermostat, will continue to get a lot of consumer attention. As they catch on, Deloitte warns that businesses must plan thoroughly for the good and bad potential consequences of these capabilities.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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