“Big Data” is everywhere these days and has been attached to concepts in just about every area of business. For legal, access to large volumes of data could streamline work in everything from billing and information management to case strategy and paralegal work.

Gartner Inc., which kicked off its Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit conference today in Las Vegas made three predictions concerning the evolution of Big Data earlier this year. The trends underscore how quickly the use of large volumes of information is evolving, and show the potential promise and problems that Big Data and enterprise business analytics hold.

According to Gartner:

1.       By 2020, information will reinvent, digitize or eliminate 80 percent of business processes and products from a decade earlier.

2.       By 2017, more than 30 percent of enterprise access to broadly based Big Data will be via intermediary data broker services, serving context to business decisions.

3.       By 2017, more than 20 percent of customer-facing analytic deployments will provide product tracking information leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT).

Prediction one indicates that within the next five years connectivity will allow products and solution to “self-manage,” removing the human element from a litany of operational necessities that were previous unsuitable for artificial intelligence. This could be a double-edged sword for the legal support industry, migrating jobs once handled by highly skilled and educated personnel to software and other technology solutions.

The second prediction could offer mitigation of job-loss for those effected by prediction one. As data broker services rise to prominence, such entities will need bodies well equipped to handle industry specific-challenges and customers. Gartner expects this shift to begin sooner than the information-revolution that will render so many business process and products obsolete, so the challenge for workers will be finding opportunities to apply experience working within a given industry to be applied agnostic of vertical or horizontal, and over a much larger business area.

According to Doug Laney, the Gartner Research VP, who penned the Forbes.com article associated with these predictions these brokers will be, “a new category of business-centric cloud services that delivers data to be used as context in business decisions, human or automated. These information services (or data/decision brokers) will become an essential part of intelligent business operations and smart business decisions.”

Gartner’s third prediction focuses on the rising prominence of analytics, a shift already being felt in industries. The dropping cost of sensors and connected devices fueling the IoT will allow businesses to more effectively track the use of their products and services, making improvements that help customers.  That same fact will give product makers access to macro-levels of information they would not have had insight into previously.

For legal, the latter could enable a more holistic view of how and why lawsuits are being filed, allowing firms to offer a practice type within a region being underserved, or offer alternate-fee arrangements to remain competitive in an area. There are also the privacy ramifications of such a system, which will require those versed in policy to help shape.