Business is moving at the speed of light. Everyone wants to know what is happening in real-time. The macro strategy is all about making micro adjustments based on sophisticated modeling and analysis of terabytes of transaction data — data from consumer transactions, financial transactions, and social transactions — and all of them together. This isn’t happening in every industry, but in enough: businesses across the entire supply chain of consumer products (think product shelf placement that changes daily), financial services (think real-time credit adjustment), health care (think drug interaction reporting), transportation (think air fares that change by the minute) and more.
Data aggregators are making this data available via the cloud — and the same or other companies are providing the massive computational capability to slice, dice, model, and predict. Tables of numbers are good for basic output, but advanced visualization techniques — 3D, multi-axis, multi-color objects that can be rotated, summarized, drilled into — are the next generation. Tablets with multi-touch user interfaces (iPad, Xoom, Galaxy — pick your favorite) offer today’s best combination of ease of use, size, and capability to deliver what was prepared in the cloud, but still needs to be studied and manipulated at your fingertips. Tablet-based visualization tools linked to high performance computers and massive data stores in the cloud will make their mark in 2012.