The panel included Paul Ross (Alteryx), Charles Zedlewski (Cloudera), Rick Schultz (Alteryx), Ellie Fields (Tableau) and Michele Chambers (Revolution Analytics). Their predictions were:

  • Analysts will matter more than data scientists
  • R will replace legacy SAS solutions and go mainstream
  • Big Data will bring its "A game" in sports marketing
  • Hadoop moves from curiosity to critical
  • Gartner's prediction that the line-of-business will drive analytics spend will happen
  • Visual analytics continues to grow but users need more
  • Analysts lives get more complex, but also easier
  • Predictive analytics will no longer be a specialist subject
  • Customer analytics is the next big marketing role
  • A new analytics stack will emerge
  • Location meets big data analytics
  • NoSQL meets analytics

There was some great discussion amongst the panelists (you can register for the replay here) but I'd say there were two major themes amongst the predictions. Firstly, that next-generation platforms for analytics have matured and are displacing legacy systems (#2, #4, #10 and #12) — the growth of R and Hadoop, especially, have played a big part in this. Secondly, that the "last mile problem" of connecting business analysts with the predictive insights they need is being solved, and is empowering many more decision makers (#1, #3, #7, #8, #9) — in other words, we have evolved beyond BI and are making predictive analytics a key part of the operational process. If I were to take a contrarian view of the discussion, it would be that I felt it downplayed the role of data scientists a little too much: as I see it, data scientists will continue to have a critical role in every organization, understanding business problems and the data sources, computing platforms, and statistical techniquest that can be deployed to solve them. But I wholeheartedly agree that in 2014 data scientists will be providing insights to a rapidly growing number of business analysts, by integrating their work into tools like Alteryx and Tableau., 3 december 2013