3 compelling reasons to move to Business Intelligence as a service

  • Richard Thelwell
  • December 22, 2014

Even three or four years ago, it was relatively unusual for businesses to consume enterprise IT software as a service. No longer. The Cloud has gone mainstream—bringing a growing tendency for businesses to see IT applications as something to run in the Cloud, rather than run ‘on-premise’, on their own servers. And in the case of Business Intelligence, the rationale is even more compelling than usual.

Why so? Because consuming Business Intelligence as a service, it turns out, neatly sidesteps some of the many headaches involved in running Business Intelligence ‘on-premise’.

Let’s take a look.

Business Intelligence as a service: say hello to a simpler project.

Every IT project has its challenges. But with on-premise Business Intelligence, they’re more complex than usual.

Business Intelligence is more of a ‘one off’, for instance, so in-house IT resource will have less experience of it. More than is customary, too, the Business Intelligence user community constitutes ‘power users’ with exacting demands. What’s more, unlike—say—an ERP project, it’s very much the case that the language and concepts involved in data warehouses and the like don’t readily lend themselves to broad adoption and easy familiarity.

Worse—and somewhat like ERP—on-premise Business Intelligence tends to be a longer-term project, typically requiring a fairly significant upfront investment (especially if an in-house data warehouse is a requirement) and 12-24 months of work before ‘go live’.

Not only does this timescale add to the implementation risk, but it also makes estimating the eventual ROI of an on-premise Business Intelligence something of a challenge, too.

The answer? Consume your Business Intelligence as a service, rather than as an in-house on-premise project. At a stroke, the problems above become your provider’s problems, and not yours.

The good news? As a specialist provider of Business Intelligence as a service, these are problems that they are very familiar with—meaning that resolving them is very much the ‘day job’.

Business Intelligence as a service: a data warehouse comes as standard.

We’ve mentioned data warehouses. Do you need one for an on-premise Business Intelligence project? No: plenty of businesses run their on-premise Business Intelligence solutions against their live ERP database.

Now let’s ask a different question. Should you have a data warehouse? Well, just ask all those businesses that don’t have a data warehouse, and which run their on-premise Business Intelligence solutions against their live ERP databases.

One result: slow, slow, slooooow ERP response times. Another: long delays while waiting for fresh reports and queries to be written, thanks to the requisite SQL and other skills residing almost exclusively in the IT department. And yet another: spreadsheet proliferation, as end-users and managers try to circumvent the system and try to develop their own timely sources of information.

To all of those problems, there’s a simple solution: consume Business Intelligence as a service, rather than as an on-premise Business Intelligence solution running against your live ERP database.

Because that way, a data warehouse is standard—as you can’t run Business Intelligence in the Cloud without one.

Business Intelligence as a service: cutting the cost of getting results.

But suppose you decide to bite the bullet, and build your own data warehouse? Don’t all those problems—the slow response times and so on—simply go away?

Well, yes. But in their place come different problems.

The need to implement other software in addition to the core Business Intelligence solution, to start with. In the case of a Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system, for instance, this can amount to no fewer than six separate solutions.

Obviously, this adds time and complexity to your on-premise Business Intelligence project.

But it also adds cost—quite considerably. Because, of course, those additional solutions must be bought and licensed. And typically, too, you’ll want to run your new data warehouse on a separate server from your ERP system, adding still further to the cost.

Business Intelligence as a service: faster, better, cheaper.

As we’ve said, consume your Business Intelligence as a service, and pretty much all of these problems go away. Or rather, they become your Business Intelligence provider’s problems, not yours.

And of course, as we’ve said, these are problems with which they are very familiar. And, moreover, for which they possess standard solutions and technologies to help when it comes to resolving them.

The result—a much quicker project completion, and a very different financial paradigm.

How much quicker, precisely? Well, a typical implementation of Matillion Business Intelligence as a service takes from four to eight weeks, from signed order to users being trained.

And in respect of cost, the only upfront expenditure with Matillion Business Intelligence as a service is a one-off fixed price setup fee. Thereafter, you get a full enterprise class Cloud Business Intelligence solution, delivered on a monthly subscription basis, with no further hardware or software required.

Business Intelligence as a service? The only way to go, in our book.

To find out more about the different delivery methods, such as ‘Business Intelligence as a service’, download our free E-book below.