When times are tough, or when business conditions change, bringing in a consulting firm can be a tempting option. There’s only one problem: the cost. Simply put, these firms are expensive. Yet Cloud BI can cut those costs, making access to high-priced consulting advice much cheaper.
Why? Think about how consulting firms work. The memorable phrase of Sir John Harvey Jones, a former chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries and presenter of the 1990s television show Troubleshooter sums it up well.
Consultants, famously observed Sir John, “borrow your watch in order to tell you the time.”
Cloud BI: making data acquisition easy
If you’ve ever had a consulting firm working in your business, you’ll know that data acquisition is a substantial part of most assignments.
Out go the consulting firm’s smooth-talking partners who sold the project, and in come a small army of junior consultants: measuring, sampling, analysing, taking observations, and building spreadsheets.
It can take weeks, and despite the disparity in pay rates, this data acquisition phase can make up a large part of the cost of an overall assignment.
And for the most part, it can’t be skimped. The data is there—buried in your business, and buried in your ERP system—and it takes time and effort to extract it.
But not with Cloud BI.
Cloud BI: behind the scenes, a data warehouse
Those who are unused to the concept of Cloud BI-based Business Intelligence don’t always immediately grasp what is different about it.
In short, there’s a natural tendency to focus on the benefits—‘self-serve’ reporting, easy-to-use analytics, and so forth—but not on how Cloud BI actually delivers those benefits.
In fact, what’s happening behind the scenes is that data from the ERP system (and any other relevant systems) is being continually uploaded to the Cloud, in order to first build and then update a Cloud-based data warehouse.
The slick reporting and self-serve analytics that Cloud BI delivers is then achieved by fast, powerful Cloud-based servers. These run reports and queries against that data warehouse, delivering the results in real time to users’ desktops or mobile devices.
Cloud BI: one easy-to-access ‘single version of the truth’
But put another way, what Cloud BI is really doing behind the scenes is capturing in its data warehouse almost everything from the ERP system that a consulting firm might be interested in.
And doing the same, moreover, with data fed into the data warehouse from any other systems—plant floor finite scheduling or inventory management systems, for instance—that are part of the Cloud BI remit.
Meaning that a huge amount of the information that a consulting firm would have to collect and build up is already present in the data warehouse.
From where, of course, it’s very simple to extract it, via self-serve reporting and ad-hoc queries.
Cloud BI: beyond the basics
That said, sometimes the requirement goes beyond simple data extraction and reporting. There might be a need to undertake complex visualisations, for instance, or to apply statistical and analytics tools such as the increasingly-popular open source ‘R’ statistical programming language.
Once again, the fact that all the relevant information has already been gathered together in a data warehouse is a huge plus.
Because from there, carrying out the appropriate extractions and analyses is a straightforward affair.
Here at Matillion, for instance, we’re happy to advise our customers as to what is necessary, or quote a fixed-fee price for the task in question.
Cloud BI: the bottom line
Roll it all together, and the impact on any consulting assignment is obvious. Simply put, with Cloud BI, the initial fact-finding and data-gathering phase of the assignment can be severely truncated.
Meaning that the cost of the assignment is also reduced. Because no longer are you paying a consulting firm to “borrow your watch in order to tell you the time”: instead, you’re paying them to add value and strategic insight, based on ready access to your own data, via your Cloud BI solution.
Meaning that when times are tough, and expert advice welcome, the cost of obtaining that advice needn’t be a show-stopper.
To find out how Cloud BI can help cut costs across your business, download our free bumper guide today