In today’s lightning fast business world, a data and analytics arms race is underway. Enterprise decision makers realize that they must outpace rivals on digital transformation or suffer the consequences. A recent survey revealed that 85 percent of enterprise decision makers feel they must make inroads into this world within two years. Failure to do so could leave them on the losing end of digital Darwinism.

A revolution in data and analytics is underway. All industries need data and analytics models now and will need them more in the future. Today, there are 44 zettabytes of information floating in cyberspace. By 2025, experts project there will be 180 zettabytes. AI is crucial to using this vast amount of data. The question now is who can effectively leverage it? The answer may lie in who gets ahead on the following data and analytics trends in 2018.

Forrester Research projects that in 2018, 20 percent of organizations will supplement point-and-click analytics with conversational user interfaces. AI is changing the way humans interact with computers. We have grown accustomed to interfacing with machines via keyboards, but rapid technological innovation promises to make typing obsolete.

Devices will become more and more language based. While applications like Alexa save people the time it takes to type instructions, voice applications promise much broader benefits for large enterprises. Ventanna Research SVP David Menninger sees a spread of analytics research to parts of organizations that have previously been resistant to analytics initiatives.

With data analytics promising such disruptive power in the marketplace over the next decade, forward thinking companies are preparing for a talent shortage. Demand for employees with analytics skills should surge. Good human resources departments are implementing aggressive hiring and retention programs.

The sheer number of connected devices presents companies with the challenge of integrating all the data effectively. Edge Analytics provides the answer. This company helps other organizations respond to the challenges of analyzing data collected from large number of devices.

Another promising trend in analytics comes from insight streams. Reams of data are collected from sources like customer satisfaction surveys and product quality data. Even foot traffic on sidewalks and parking lot density data is filling databases. These types of data can provide valuable insights into business opportunities. To monetize these insights, insight brokers will use this information to show companies how to increase business and alter business models and practices in order to become more profitable.