With many of the world’s biggest brands being upended by disruption, a recent survey reveals that 85% of enterprise decision makers feel they have just two years to make significant inroads on digital transformation before suffering financially and/or falling behind their competitors.

Ready or not, the future is here, and for enterprise organizations, it must be a data-driven one. Those organizations that can use data and technology to transform the customer experience and be the first to discover and deliver on new business models will be the disruptor. Those who can’t, will the disrupted in an era of Digital Darwinism.

One of the greatest challenges facing all enterprise organizations is that the volume, velocity, and variety of data are growing at a meteoric pace. IDC predicts that by 2020, the total amount of digital data created worldwide will equal 44 zettabytes. But by 2025, that will rise to 180 zettabytes. For businesses, this begs the question “how will we manage it all?” but also “how can we make the most of it?”

As organizations focus their 2020 (and even 2030) vision, there are some key trends leading big data and analytics influencers say deserve executives’ attention. The first comes from Forrester Research VP and Principal Analyst Boris Evelson and Forrester Research Principal Analyst Michele Goetz who predict that in 2018, a quarter of organizations will supplement point-and-click analytics with conversational user interfaces, and artificial intelligence (AI) will make decisions and provide real-time instructions at 20% of firms.

Impact Analytix founder Jen Underwood agrees that AI will be key. “We are witnessing an unprecedented pace of continuous technological change,” says Underwood. “Search, natural language and intelligent analytics automation innovations powered by AI are beginning to vastly transform the human-computer experience, democratizing the power of analytics and data science.”

Ventana Research SVP David Menninger says 2018 will be the year voice and natural language interfaces become mainstream. “For decades, the man-machine interface has been based on keyboard and mouse interactions,” says Menninger.

“As our devices of all types allow users to leverage language, we will see adoption of related types of technology among a broader audience. This is particularly relevant for analytics initiatives which have traditionally struggled to reach widespread and regular usage throughout an organization,” notes Menninger.

Taking a look at the more human side of things, MicroStrategy VP of Talent Acquisition Teresa Green warns of an impending data science and analytics talent shortage. Green recommends in-house training and immediately upping the ante on recruiting and retention efforts.

MicroStrategy CTO Tim Lang advises enterprise organizations to focus on the convergence of real-time and batch-based data, while Hugh Owen, SVP of Product Marketing for the enterprise analytics provider, recommends a focus on convergence in regard to big data and analytics vendors, and emerging tools and technologies.

IoT, big data and analytics influencer Ronald van Loon says edge analytics is a trend all enterprise organizations must have their eye on, as the latest Ericsson Mobility Report predicts 29 million connected devices by 2022 with 18 billion of those related to IoT. “Edge analytics will help companies address challenges related to centrally analyzed data generated from so many connected devices,” notes van Loon.

On a related note, Constellation Research Founder and Principal Analyst Ray Wang predicts that one of the biggest opportunities for monetizing analytics in the future will arise from the development of insights streams. “Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift; it’s about transforming business models and changing how people engage with each other,” says Wang. This transformation often requires insights derived from obvious sources such as customer satisfaction and product quality data, but Wang says don’t forget insights from less obvious sources such as foot traffic on a sidewalk, power consumption and parking lot density.

“These sources may seem mundane or perhaps useless, but large insight brokers will begin taking this data to drive contextually relevant information” – and with the right insight streams, some organizations will more quickly discover and deliver on market and business differentiation.

“If 20% of your revenue is not an insight stream by 2020,” says Wang, “you won’t have a digital business model.”

From the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence to machine learning and natural language generation, all organizations need to keep ahead of technology trends to make the most of data and insights in the future – and digitally transform. Read more about these 8 trends here.