UPDATED 11:00 EST / DECEMBER 23 2015


Analytic trends in 2016 could predict presidential election

Data analytics hold vast potential in 2016, pushing companies into whole new terrain and even helping predict the next U.S. president.

Data blending and advanced analytics company Alteryx, Inc. recently hosted a webinar alongside Cloudera, Inc. and Tableau Software, Inc. in which they presented trends in data analytics for 2016. The webinar included Bob Laurent, senior director of product marketing at Alteryx; Clarke Patterson, senior director of product marketing at Cloudera; and Francois Ajenstat, VP of product management at Tableau.

Analysts: Hottest jobs and everyday heroes

“The real stars inside the organizations are the analysts themselves,” said Laurent. Data analyst jobs are truly making an impact on a company’s success, and data analysts will become one of the hottest jobs in America. Because of this, IT will need to embrace self-service analytics and make it accessible to everyone.

“We have to find some solutions for getting data into the hands of analysts as quickly as possible,” said Patterson.

Skill sets range vastly, and data will be handled by very technical people and not so technical people. IT will need to be able to make it so “everybody can play.” As everybody learns to play, analytics will become a communication.

“Analysts will be using visual analytics as way of communicating,” said Ajenstat. Analytics will become a way of collaborating with one another and sharing that data, making analytics accessible for everyone.

Mainstream trends: Spark, the Cloud, and IoT

According to the panel, things that are truly taking off are Apache Spark [an open-source processing engine], the Cloud, and the IoT.

“If we look across our customer base, a large percentage of them — well over 200 now — are running some level of Spark workloads in production,” said Patterson. “Spark is just dominating.”

Cloud isn’t going away, either. “It’s here to stay,” said Ajenstat. 2016 is going to be the Year of the Cloud. It’s also going to be a tipping point for analytics. “Cloud is a phenomenal delivery platform and mechanism for delivering analytics to users,” said Ajenstat. Cloud is going to add a lot more flexibility going forward to provide and store data.

Another thing the panel noted is that Internet of Things (IoT) will get far more organizations interested in geospatial analytics. A lot of companies will want to use data to help figure out what is going on regionally and geographically based on physical locations.

Presidential election predictions in 2016

Analytics are going to be very crucial in the upcoming election, and the models are becoming much more sophisticated with each new election.

“In 2008 … the Obama campaign team really actively recruited and brought in a lot of data scientists to compile from all the different surveys … on each eligible voter,” described Laurent. Then again in 2012, Obama really poured over all the data to identify all the people who voted for him in 2008 to project that out. Every election, data analytics will get more advanced.

“It’s clear to me that both sides are going to be using some pretty sophisticated predictive models next year that I think are going to put even the 2012 models to shame,” said Laurent.

You can listen to the full recorded webinar here.

Photo by ThatMattWade

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