Cloud computing is big business: as consumers, most of us now routinely interact with Cloud-based applications and services many times each day. Increasingly, too, companies are making use of the Cloud to host key business applications: e-mail, document sharing, and niche line-of-business solutions. So as part of that move, is it now time to consider cloud reporting software?
As with most such questions, the answer depends on a business’s individual circumstances. Some are readier for cloud reporting software than others. Equally, cloud reporting software can deliver more benefits for some businesses than it can for others.
Put another way, while cloud reporting software will only very rarely be the wrong answer, it clearly has more to offer some businesses than others.
So where does your business sit on the spectrum? These three questions provide a good starting point for evaluating the suitability of cloud reporting software.
Cloud reporting software: is reporting a bottleneck?
There are many reasons why a business’s present reporting system can be a bottleneck.
Insufficient server capacity, for example. An exceptionally large database to process. Insufficient analyst resource with which to write SQL reports. The lack of a data warehouse. And so on, and so on.
In almost every case, cloud reporting software will have a lot to offer.
Because cloud reporting software leverages the Cloud’s raw computing horsepower, bringing an end to server overload. And because cloud reporting software lets users write their own ‘self-serve’ reports, using simple point-and click tools. And because cloud reporting software contains an in-built, Cloud-based data warehouse.
Cloud reporting software: is integrating multiple data sources an issue?
Sometimes, reporting involves just a single data source: an ERP database, for instance, located on a single server.
But increasingly, reporting involves more than one data source. There might be a single ERP system and a number of niche ‘line of business’ systems, for instance. Reporting might be across a number of corporate entities. Or there might be multiple Point of Sale systems.
From a technical point of view, such integration isn’t actually difficult. Most systems will output in .csv format, for instance, or some other basic ‘Rosetta Stone’ common standard.
But while it isn’t technically difficult to integrate multiple data sources together with such techniques, it is time-consuming. And can be error-prone. And it can be both time-consuming and error-prone if such integration is happening on an ad-hoc basis, perhaps within a finance function, and perhaps using spreadsheets as the integration tool.
The answer? Cloud reporting software, which handles such integration automatically, using Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) technology, bringing together all the requisite data sources within a single, Cloud-based data warehouse.
Cloud reporting software: does a ‘reporting as a service’ business model appeal?
Technical and capacity considerations aren’t the only factors to consider. Inevitably, it’s also sensible to take commercial considerations into account as well.
And while these shouldn’t necessarily take precedence over other factors, it’s worth bearing in mind that cloud reporting software can be a more affordable way of acquiring a modern reporting capability.
That’s because cloud reporting software is purchased as a service, rather than as capital expenditure on a traditional ‘on-premise’ reporting solution.
Put another way, you’re buying the capability that the cloud reporting software delivers from the Cloud, rather than the reporting software itself. So rather than owing a piece of software, in short, you’re buying reporting as a monthly subscription, paid for out of operating expenditure, not capital expenditure.
Which means that there’s also no need to purchase or upgrade server capacity to run reporting software. And also no need to acquire and install on-premise data warehousing software—because a Cloud data warehouse is all part of the overall cloud reporting software solution.
Cloud reporting software: the bottom line.
If issues like those above are a feature of the reporting landscape within your business, then it’s certainly sensible to begin evaluating cloud reporting software.
Here at Matillion, we can help—because cloud reporting software is what we do. So download one of our free e-books, read our customer case studies, and call us for a demonstration.
To find out more about how Cloud Reporting Software can improve reporting throughout your business, download our free bumper guide today