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February 2014

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Oracle Vice President Rich Clayton Outlines Top 2014 Trends for EPM and BI

As vice president of the Oracle Business Analytics product group, Rich Clayton is charged with staying ahead of the latest trends in the rapidly evolving field of business analytics. Clayton and his team recently conducted an informal survey of more than 200 business intelligence (BI) and enterprise performance management (EPM) leaders across industries, with a focus on their top concerns and priorities in 2014.

"Not surprisingly, we found familiar themes—mobile, social, and big data. But in 2014, we expect to see a growing number of organizations move from planning to execution in all three areas," says Clayton.

We asked Clayton to offer his top predictions for business analytics in 2014, including both BI and EPM. You can also download a more detailed set of predictions for both EPM in 2014 and BI in 2014. The findings include the following.

Mobile analytics everywhere. In BI, mobile sales applications are expected to grow the fastest, with 42 percent of respondents planning to implement them by the end of 2014—almost twice as many as last year. Mobile finance applications is next (39 percent), followed by marketing (37 percent), and operations (34 percent).

Additionally, the number of companies with more than 50 percent of their EPM processes mobile-enabled will increase by a factor of 10. And companies with no mobile EPM applications will drop by more than half, from 66 to 26 percent.

Cloud analytics rise to the top. Almost 60 percent of respondents said they are either already investing in cloud BI applications or plan to in 2014 and 2015. Marketing (63 percent) and sales (62 percent) analytics in the cloud lead the pack, but respondents expect service, operations, and human resources applications investment to grow four times as fast in 2014 as in 2013. The ability to model data quickly to meet analytical requirements is the most important priority when it comes to adopting BI in the cloud (29 percent), followed by creating reports and dashboards (24 percent), and predictive analytics (12 percent).

In finance, concerns about security and data confidentiality have gradually subsided over the last couple of years, with three-quarters of the surveyed leaders saying they are currently using or will consider deploying EPM in the cloud. A full 70 percent of the finance executives who responded said their primary motivation was to avoid large upfront investments and fixed capital investments, especially during periods of corporate or economic uncertainty. And 62 percent said they were persuaded by the ability to get up and running quickly, thereby increasing business agility.

The explosion of big data creates opportunities. Big data is the new signal for finance. The explosion of big data presents a unique opportunity to incorporate unstructured data into planning and forecasting processes for more-accurate forecasts. More than half the people surveyed expect to leverage big data in their planning and forecasting processes.

For those adopting big data in their organizations, 40 percent plan to use predictive analytics in order to calculate likely outcomes, associations, and behaviors. Another 37 percent will focus on decision optimization, taking predictive analytics a step further and combining it with business rules to prescribe the best recommendations in real time and across all channels. And for 31 percent, self-service data discovery is key for BI to intuitively combine multiple sources and structures.

Enterprise data governance (EDG) set to boom in 2014. As companies grow and evolve due to mergers and acquisitions or other change events, there is growing demand for EDG—the management and control of information hierarchies across multiple systems. By the end of 2014, 57 percent of respondents expect to use an integrated packaged application for EDG, while companies relying on manual processes will drop from 20 to 7 percent.

Financial disclosure complexity continues to rise. Compliance reporting requirements have multiplied over the last decade and become increasingly specialized. Half of respondents believe that in 2014, industry-specific regulations and cyber security will substantially increase the complexity of financial disclosures. Meanwhile, a CFO magazine report finds that almost half of executives surveyed predict their compliance budgets will rise in 2014.

Get the full reports and more-detailed predictions for both EPM in 2014 and BI in 2014.

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