5 Business Intelligence and Analytics Trends that Are Shaping 2021

by | Aug 5, 2021 | General BI

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Although industry standards and trends change every year, the last year or so was presented with particularly unique circumstances amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations were forced to develop creative and innovative solutions in the face of all the novel challenges that come with a remote world, and the business intelligence industry is no exception.

As organizations reoriented their strategies to reflect the bizarre circumstances, new trends began to arise in the field of data analytics. Howard Dresner, one of the leading industry analysts in business intelligence, identifies many of these trends in his recent release Dresner Advisory Services’ 2021 Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study. As we move forward from the pandemic and look to the future, it’s important to keep an eye on trends in the industry to better understand where the market is heading in the next several years.

1. The customer demographic is entering the spotlight

For a while now, business intelligence groups have targeted the higher-ups of organizations for the implementation of their various products. However, according to the 2021 Wisdom of Crowds® report, this target audience has begun to shift over the past year.

Since 2020, business intelligence groups have begun to focus more on the needs of the customer audience, with the percentage of the customer demographic having increased by a substantial 11%! Likewise, the traditional top four targeted audiences of business intelligence (executives, middle managers, line managers, and individual contributors) have all decreased in priority. Furthermore, the most successful reported business intelligence organizations target and enable all potential audiences, indicating that overall success depends on helping companies succeed at all levels of infrastructure.

(Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Copyright 2021—Dresner Advisory Services)

2. User feedback is key to measuring success

Despite the high expectations and obstacles presented by the pandemic, success with business intelligence has continued to improve over the past year. But how exactly do we measure “success with business intelligence?”

According to the 2021 Wisdom of Crowds® report, the greatest measure of success happens to be user feedback. The report discovered that 79% of respondents found user feedback to be the best measure of business intelligence success, a stark contrast to the 40% of respondents who relied on system/application activity. Furthermore, respondents reported that the greatest contributors to business intelligence success include executive support (77%), communication (62%), and a culture that understands the value of fact-based decision-making (59%).

(Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Copyright 2021—Dresner Advisory Services)

3. Organizations are willing to spend more

As the business intelligence industry grows, so are companies’ budgets. The 2021 Wisdom of Crowds® report found that a whopping 46% of respondents intended to increase their business intelligence budget in 2021, with another 46% intending to at least maintain their budget from 2020. Although this is 5% lower than the number of respondents who intended to increase their budget in 2020, the drop is offset by the 6% of respondents who reported a budget freeze in 2021.

It’s worth noting that this fluctuation in budgeting is likely in part due to the pandemic, as companies were forced to take more precautionary measures. With these limitations in mind, business intelligence groups are prioritizing helping companies make the most of their resources.

(Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Copyright 2021—Dresner Advisory Services)

4. Market penetration of business intelligence isn’t slowing down

With the increase in market spending on business intelligence, it should come as no surprise that the percentage of total employees using business intelligence has grown significantly over the past few years. The Wisdom of Crowds® report found that more and more companies are reporting higher levels of business intelligence use throughout their organization. For example, the number of companies with a reported business intelligence penetration of 81% or more doubled from 2015 to 2021!

This is because business intelligence groups are providing more and more options to optimize business functions at all levels of operation. There are also no signs of slowing down either, as organizations are still pursuing bullish plans to expand business intelligence use, going so far to reduce sub-10% penetration by almost half (from 25% to 14%) in just 12 months’ time!

(Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Copyright 2021—Dresner Advisory Services)

5. Organizations are using more tools

With business intelligence budgets increasing every year, we’re seeing more and more companies take advantage of the diverse supply of tools available on the market. According to the Wisdom of Crowds® report, the number of business intelligence tools in use per organization is increasing, with the number of companies who report only one tool in use down from 23% in 2020 to 17% in 2021.

As in recent years, the most popular use of technology business still lies in the familiar technologies of reporting, dashboards, data integration, and data warehousing. Some business intelligence groups have adapted to this recent trend by combining multiple tools into one package in order to provide a much more seamless user experience. For example, Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform® provides users with data integration, data management, analytics, and visualization in one convenient platform.

(Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, Copyright 2021—Dresner Advisory Services)


New trends in the business intelligence market are constantly emerging as the world rapidly progresses forward. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a particularly interesting year for the industry, with many companies forced to adapt in light of the new circumstances. To learn more about these and other business analytics trends, download the full Wisdom of Crowds® report below.

Click to read the Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study

You may also like