Forrester recently released five predictions for 2019 designed to help organizations obtain more “outcome-focused enterprise insights” in the year ahead. Here’s a quick rundown of these themes, and their implications for the business insights industry:

  1. More Organizations Will Adopt Data Fabrics

Many companies have more data sources and technologies than they originally thought. In this crowded environment, companies are required to adopt data fabrics to integrate and manage multiple data sources. As Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Mike Gualtieri told InformationWeek, “People are realizing this idea of building one data lake is not going to happen.” Gualtieri stressed that machine learning and self-service business intelligence are also complicating factors. In 2019, he and his team expect that data fabric technology will be used to power virtual data lakes, simplifying access to existing data lakes and other data sources.

  1. Data Governance Will become Ambient and Enabling

According to Forrester, data governance was, “until now a buzzkill,” but this is due to change coming in 2019 as governance becomes part of the process of accessing data. The firm predicts ambient data governance will automate and intelligently scale data policy deployment while learning and adopting policies based on data consumption and interactions.

  1. A Decrease in Dashboards and Reports

Forrester predicts that in the upcoming year we will see more companies examining their reporting environment to determine if they deliver strategic business value. If there are dashboards and reports that are unused or offer limited insights, expect to see them scrapped in favor of deploying resources to more outcome-oriented initiatives — many of which may not be reporting in nature.

  1. Storytelling Skills Will Drive Hiring

Members of the data team with storytelling skills will be increasingly valuable and often be directed to focus on internal communications. As Jessica Davis wrote in InformationWeek , “Forrester says that data storytelling not only persuades the analytical part of the brain. It also uses emotion, which is a key driver of decision making.” As data becomes more pervasive throughout organizations, the ability to help others interpret and actualize these insights will be a skill in high demand.

  1. Partnerships are Essential for a Thriving Data Economy

Gualtieri and his team believe that many data monetization efforts have failed because companies don’t take a market-driven approach to these initiatives. Warning that the data economy is in jeopardy unless companies adopt a “fail fast, succeed faster” mindset, Forrester predicts integration providers will play a more prominent role in data monetization projects. Partnering with these firms can help companies enrich their data and obtain a more comprehensive picture. Integration providers can also help determine use cases, target audiences, and other variables that inform new product development.

Calling 2019 “the year that transformation goes pragmatic,” Forrester believes next year will bring a new approach to data intelligence.