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Top data analysis software and techniques stories of 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, it's time to review some of the biggest developments and trends in the world of BI and big data, including how sports teams, hospitals and data-driven executives pushed ahead on analytics.

With the end of the year drawing near, now is a good time to look back at some of the big data analysis software and practices stories that shaped 2015 in analytics or highlight a prevailing trend. Here are SearchBusinessAnalytics' top 10 stories of the year, based on an entirely subjective assessment of social media shares, comments and page views.

How much should sports media utilize analytics?

Analytics in sports is becoming a hot topic. It's hard to turn on a TV broadcast of any game without seeing deep dives into advanced statistics. But not everyone is convinced this is a good thing. Some, like Brian Burke of Advanced Football Statistics, think quantifying everything can suck some of the joy out of the game, while others, like ESPN's Ben Alamar, think analytics can actually deepen our understanding and appreciation of what happens in the game. In this article, we take a look at the differing views of analytics in sports.

The emergence of data-focused executives

This year, we saw a number of organizations adding either chief data officers or chief analytics officers to lead their data efforts.

As more companies base large elements of their business strategy around data, the need for executives with deep understanding of data and analytics is growing rapidly. This year, we saw a number of organizations adding either chief data officers or chief analytics officers to lead their data efforts and craft data strategy. This story looks at why these executives are ready to become even more influential in the years ahead.

Businesses key in on big data value

Big data has been the biggest buzzword in the world of analytics for the last few years, but businesses are still trying to figure out exactly what it means for their operations. In this article, we talked with some front-line users who are trying to figure out how to put big data into practice and take it from an amorphous phrase into a game-changing business strategy.

Cluttered charts often crash and burn

Everyone knows the axiom about keeping it simple, and nowhere is that more true than in creating visualizations from big data. With a mountain of information and slick data analysis software, there can be a lot of temptation to produce graphs and reports that are high in design value but low in interpretability. For this article, users told us that the most important part of visualizing big data is to resist the temptation to clutter things up and keep it simple.

How one CEO created a data-driven culture

We hear all the time about how top-level executives need to lead transitions to a data-driven workplace, but it's still rare to see the CEO take it upon himself to create this change. In this article, we talked to one such executive who personally identified the need to put data at the center of decision making and helped his organization move toward this strategic realignment.

How EHR systems create analytics hurdles

The healthcare industry still trails many others when it comes to adoption of analytics tools, and users say a primary reason for this resistance is the record-keeping systems that create most of their data. These systems often create data in proprietary formats and make it hard to move it into data analysis software. In this article, we talked to providers who are grappling with this problem.

Nate Silver talks about developing a data-driven strategy

When Nate Silver speaks, the analytics world listens. The founder of the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight spoke at the HP Big Data Conference in Boston about how businesses can create a data-driven strategy that capitalizes on the different strengths of both software and humans. Check out his tips for improving your business' data strategy.

Boston becomes standard-bearer for data-driven cities

It's not just businesses that are trying to capitalize on the new possibilities presented by data and analytics tools. In recent years, the city of Boston has moved to make analytics a central part of how the city runs. Read more about some of the challenges the city's IT department has had to overcome and the progress it's made.

BI and big data pros continue to command high salaries

When it comes to pay, workers in BI and big data fields outpace their IT colleagues, according to TechTarget's most recent IT Salary and Careers Survey. They're also in upbeat moods about their careers, their work and the future of their job prospects. This article explains why it's truly good times to be working in a data-related field.

Hope for analytics lowering hospital readmissions

While the healthcare industry is behind others in adoption of analytics technologies, that trend may not last. A number of factors are combining to pressure hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, and many see data analysis software as the primary way to satisfy these demands. This article looks at how hospitals use analytics to control unnecessary readmissions.

Ed Burns is site editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at eburns@techtarget.com and follow him on Twitter: @EdBurnsTT.

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This was first published in December 2015

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