Top 3 Business Data Trends 2024
The top 3 topics in business data you should keep your eye on and understand in 2024 and beyond.
Written by — Anni Mansikkaoja, Head of Marketing & Communications
Time to put our spoon into the prediction soup for the new year. Since the pot is already overflowing, this is out of our comfort zone for sure. You see, we like to view ourselves as a bit peculiar bunch and hence, don’t really like anything too mainstream. You can blame it on the increasing number of millennials in the band who still have their angsty emo teen tugged inside their souls (no mom, it’s not just a phase) or real-life Matti Näsäs (IYKYK) likely stemming from our large and loud Tampere-based minority. Nonetheless, or maybe exactly for those reasons, we do also enjoy our occasional moments as Besserwissers. It’s kinda our job, too. So, here we are.
Joking aside, our take on the trends for 2024 focuses on business data. What are the main topics in business data that you should keep your eye on and understand? Last year, we listed five points that we believe will continue to be relevant. You can find them here and view these three points as additions on top of the previous ones.
1) GENERATIVE AI
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Generative AI continues its world domination. You don’t need our list to grasp that, just check any of the gazillion reports or predictions you can think of and it’s there. For example, the world's leading trend forecasting company WGSN names AI co-creation and AI assistants right next to plant milking, social learning, and Apricot Crush as the top trends for 2024. Yeah, embrace yourself if you haven’t already.
We approach the AI trend from the perspective that we identify to be the most important for our customers: What makes or breaks the successful implementation of generative AI in production? In other words, the use of innovative AI solutions in a way that truly creates tangible value. The hype train has run its course and it’s about time we move forward.
In the upcoming 12 months, we predict that we’ll move from using genAI as separate gadgets here and there on the side into integrated tools and artificial intelligence as an integral part of functional business operations.
2) BACK TO BASICS
To dig dollars from data (or that generative AI), we need to ensure the foundations are in place. That means i.e. data strategy, governance, and quality. There’s a saying that one should learn how to walk before running. Hate to bring anyone down here, but it is true: If you think you can just implement generative AI as a part of your business operations without reviewing your data capabilities, you’re eventually going to trip over your own two feet.
As a business data company, we firmly believe that it is not only a matter of technical capabilities but also those of the business. You can bet your ass that the whole situation would be quite a lot more straightforward if it were only up to the data architects and engineers in your organization. Or vice versa if only the business folks were running the show. But it is not like that, isn’t it?
We may sound like a broken record (pun unintended) making a prediction like this for the upcoming year since it is the very essence of why Recordly came to be “already” in 2021: to build bridges between the technical and business side of things and to help humans and data cooperate. However, the continuously increasing demands for different data-based capabilities increase quite obviously the need for the data capabilities themselves. It’s a no-brainer.
We predict and aspire that as we continue playing in the innovative space, the understanding of the basics of data work will also gain more ground on the business side. In other words, the two worlds keep coming closer together and seeing the need for shared endeavors.
3) REGULATORY IS THE NEW SEXY
New tools and ways of working gaining popularity naturally create a need for new regulations. That’s how it goes. In the big picture, we identify two topics in particular that are driving the development and need for new regulations and regulatory frameworks. On one side, we have the hot topic of AI and ML and on the other, there is the other “hot” topic: global warming and with that, sustainability.
Sustainability may seem like something everyone’s been talking about for decades now and some organizations may feel like it is nothing but a boy who cried wolf. Unfortunately, that type of thinking is part of the problem we as a species have created, and for everyone’s sake need to take it seriously. One of the most important sustainability regulations in 2024 is the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The CSRD law came into force at the beginning of the year and it requires all large companies and listed SMEs operating in the EU to report on their climate impact. It requires them to start publishing regular reports in 2025 for the financial year 2024.
The EU AI Act is the world’s first comprehensive AI law as also discussed at our second data brunch in October. The EU Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the act on December 9 2023 and the agreed text will next be formally adopted by both Parliament and Council to become EU law. Depending on the sources, it is not likely the AI Act will take effect before 2025 but that only means that 2024 is a perfect time for organizations to familiarize themselves with the act, take needed actions, and be prepared when it does.
We predict that the approach to the new regulations is a crucial trend for the upcoming year and beyond. Those organizations that do not shy away from understanding them in their context and proactively taking action will be in a much better position moving forward compared to those who keep hiding their heads in the sand.
WRAP IT UP
We're going to end on the same note as the last time: Even with all the new gadgets around, there is no such thing as 100% certainty about what will happen in the future. Especially in this time and place.
We like to approach things with a no-BS attitude and this list is no exception to that. We don't see any value in trying to come up with punchlines or black swans just for the sake of them. Instead, we encourage preparing for the future in the best way possible. That is why we chose to bring up the three points we did: If you take your time truly familiarizing yourself with them and openly considering how they are affecting your reality, the better you're off as you move forward. Fortunately, we can help with that.