Building a compelling Cloud BI business case

  • Richard Thelwell
  • April 7, 2015

Cloud BI Business caseOnce you’ve used Google Apps, Office 365, Dropbox, or Facebook, it’s difficult to imagine life without them. The Cloud is just… well, addictive. So too with Cloud BI: fast, powerful and effective, it puts Business Intelligence in a whole new light. But even so, as with any move to new and better technology, you need to build a Cloud BI business case.

So if a Cloud BI business case is featuring on your ‘To Do’ list, here’s a checklist of points to consider including in that Cloud BI business case.

It’s not an exhaustive list of everything to consider. Instead, it’s a quick reprise of a few of the areas that can sometimes be overlooked.

Your Cloud BI business case: a better Business Intelligence solution

Let’s start with the real purpose of any Business Intelligence system: generating, well, Business Intelligence. And if you’re looking at a Cloud BI solution, then the chances are good that you feel that your present Business Intelligence capabilities are not what they could be.

So in terms of a Cloud BI business case, it’s worth thinking about the value of that better Business Intelligence.

First, there’s the money you could save—and the money you could make—from being able to make better informed decisions. To be sure, it won’t be a solid, tangible number. But it’s still very much part of that Cloud BI business case.

And don’t be dissuaded by naysayers arguing that only firm numbers should be included in a Cloud BI business case. Because buying that argument is tantamount to saying that customer analytics, sales analytics, inventory analytics and supplier analytics are all of zero value, and won’t deliver. Which, of course, is nonsense.

cloud bi business case time saving
The time and resource savings should be a major factor in your Cloud BI business case.

Second, there’s the time and resource to be saved through not manually creating clunky SQL reports all the time, through not having people around the organisation busily maintaining spreadsheets, and the better utilisation of IT staff who are getting on with their real jobs instead of permanently being sidetracked by the need to build or update SQL reports and queries.

Once more, you won’t be able to put a precise number on such savings, so put an informed estimate in your Cloud BI business case. The savings are real, even if they are a little difficult to quantify.

Your Cloud BI business case: capital investment avoided

Again, if you’re looking at a Cloud BI solution, then there’s a decent chance that you’ve either an existing traditional-style on-premise Business Intelligence solution that needs upgrading, or you’ve been giving serious thought to acquiring a traditional-style on-premise Business Intelligence solution.

Either way, you’re talking about a fairly hefty capital investment. And one that should be reflected in your Cloud BI business case.

Certainly, it’s an investment of potentially several hundred thousand pounds, once you’ve rolled up the costs of a new server (or servers in the plural, if you’re planning on a data warehouse), software (the Business Intelligence solution itself, plus ETL middleware and data warehouse software), and the actual costs of the implementation in terms of consulting expertise and so on.

None of which has to be spent if you go down the Cloud BI route, where Cloud-based Business Intelligence is bought and paid for as a service, on a monthly subscription basis.

cloud bi business case investment
Cloud BI does not require the same hefty upfront investment as traditional Business Intelligence

And in terms of your Cloud BI business case, it’s worth reflecting this in two ways. One, the cash cost avoided, of course. But two, think about the opportunity cost of that on-premise Business Intelligence investment—namely, that you can’t invest the same money twice.

So if you opt to buy new production equipment with the money that would have been spent on an on-premise Business Intelligence solution, then consider throwing into the Cloud BI business case the additional profit generated by that production equipment.

Your Cloud BI business case: time to benefit

Finally, a quick work about timescales—because they, too, have an impact on the Cloud BI business case.

A traditional on-premise Business Intelligence implementation doesn’t happen overnight. Typically, it’s going to be a year to eighteen months. And that’s a year to eighteen months during which the benefits of that investment in your traditional on-premise Business Intelligence won’t be felt.

cloud bi business case fast implementation
Cloud BI offers a much faster implementation, allowing you to exploit the benefits earlier.

In contrast, with Cloud BI, implementation takes two to three months. That’s right: two to three months. So those benefits come through much, much faster.

Your Cloud BI business case: next steps

Convinced? Our customers are, having built their own Cloud BO business cases.

So why not browse our case studies to learn how they have benefited from Cloud BI? Or download one of our free e-books?

Cloud BI business case studies

To find out more about creating a Cloud BI business case, download our free guide below