Dashboards are a top priority for companies investing in business-intelligence software, according to a new study by research firm Forrester. Advanced analytics, although in relatively limited use at the moment, are primed to explode as location, predictive and search-analytics technologies inevitably improve over the next few years. Forrester’s latest report on business intelligence investigated 15 analytics technologies through a handful of different lenses: the current state of technology, how that technology might impact customers’ businesses, the time “experts think the technology will need to reach the next stage of maturity,” and the technology’s overall trajectory. Those analyzed technologies included dashboards, reporting, embedded analytics, predictive analytics, advanced visualization, non-modeled data exploration, and more. “Many nascent technologies will see rapid adoption and move out of their current niche usage,” Forrester analyst Charles Green wrote in a July 15 corporate blog posting. “The hype surrounding many analytics technologies—such as predictive analytics—masks the reality that their adoption and usage currently remain limited to some relatively specific instances.” The situation isn’t static: Forrester’s analysts believe that, while a minority of companies have instituted technologies such as predictive analytics, a majority have an interest in these technologies, even if the actual budget to implement them isn’t available yet. “Reporting is not dead and will not reach its end of life for some time,” read a separate note issued by the research firm. “Traditional reporting technologies, such as dashboards, are relatively mature, but many companies will continue to adopt them because they help crystallize, amalgamate, and present the data collected from the broad spectrum of new analytics technologies.” Some 25 percent of those companies surveyed by Forrester plan on implementing a dashboard within the next year, making it the leading analytics-related technology deployed by businesses. That’s good news for companies looking for better tools to analyze data, but the increasing reliance on analytics platforms could also translate into more strain on everyone from developers (who need to build increasingly sophisticated software) to IT departments (which need to integrate it into their companies’ backend IT) to employees (who actually need to learn how to use the tools). Earlier in July, research firm Strategy Analytics predicted that data traffic will explode over the next five years, growing more than 300 percent by 2017. Firms such as IBM have been developing speedier data-analytics software in response.   Image: Uros Zunic/Shutterstock.com