With an ever-growing number of organisations opting to run their mission-critical intelligence operations in the Cloud, it’s fair to say that Cloud business intelligence is now a mainstream technology. The benefits of these solutions are clear to see and this is what has cemented their place at the table, as an increasingly viable alternative to traditional BI.
Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2014 report suggests that the Cloud can now be considered as a mainstream technology, offering an established platform for delivering business applications. The Cloud has earned its place at the table and can now compete alongside more traditional delivery methods such as ‘colocation, managed hosting, and on premise data centers’.
One of the most effective applications of this technology has been the ability to provide organisations with improved analytical capabilities through Cloud business intelligence and reporting solutions. The viability of these solutions is reflected in the market growth forecasts which suggest that the Cloud BI market will be worth over $2.94 billion by 2018, a compound annual growth rate of almost 31%.
However, the figures alone do not tell the whole story. Cloud business intelligence has played a critical role in changing company mind-sets towards Cloud technology as a whole. So much so that many organisations are beginning to take more of a ‘Cloud first’ mind-set when evaluating the delivery of applications throughout the business.
Not just a quick fix
One of the major benefits of Cloud BI solutions is that they offer a much faster implementation when compared to traditional business intelligence projects. Many vendors can have you up and running in as little as four to six weeks.
But Cloud business intelligence should not be considered as simply a ‘quick fix’. Continuous improvements in this technology have resulted in robust and reliable systems that are made to stand the test of time. Rather than being a purely reactive solution to a company’s reporting challenges, they can also help to facilitate a more proactive analytics strategy.
Not just for smaller businesses
Cloud business intelligence tools have traditionally been most appealing to smaller businesses who lack the IT resources to build expensive on-premise solutions from scratch. Cloud BI tools allow these smaller companies to exploit the benefits of enterprise-class business intelligence at a fraction of the cost, and without the complicated implementation process.
But Cloud business intelligence is no longer just for smaller businesses. Larger companies have typically been less receptive to the benefits of Cloud business intelligence due to lingering concerns over Cloud technology as a whole. These concerns have gradually diminished, however, and as a result there has been a significant rise in adoption rates in mid-sized organisations.
Meanwhile concerns over data volumes have historically led to mid-sized companies preferring to build their own on-premise data warehouse solutions. However, improvements in technology mean Cloud BI solutions are now robust enough to cope with the demanding requirements of these larger organisations.
These larger companies often err on the side of caution by rolling out implementations on a group or departmental basis, but this certainly signals wider intent from this bracket of organisations. Many of these companies are now on the verge of making a more significant, enterprise-wide move to the Cloud.
Not just a cheaper option
One of the major selling points of Cloud BI is that it provides a more cost-effective alternative to traditional business intelligence projects. Many vendors offer subscription-based Cloud BI in a software-as-a-service pricing model. This frequently works out to be much more economical, allowing users to purchase the software on a monthly or annual basis.
By streamlining their Intelligence operations through Cloud BI, companies can also reduce many of the operational and capital costs incurred. There is also a reduced emphasis on the need for the physical infrastructure surrounding business intelligence, which may include additional staff, equipment and facilities.
The costs saving benefits of Cloud business intelligence are clear to see, but this is just one of many benefits associated with this technology. When you compare the ROI of various BI systems, Cloud business intelligence is no longer simply the cheaper option, it is also faster, more reliable and more easily accessible.
In a recent survey analysing the motives behind businesses switching to the Cloud, only 14% of respondents stated that reducing costs was their primary motive. This figure is relatively low compared with the 32% of respondents who stated that business agility was their primary motive. These figures show that although cost savings are an important factor, they are no longer the only reason businesses choose Cloud business intelligence.
The future of Cloud BI
With almost half of the respondents to a Gartner survey stating that they would adopt Cloud business intelligence, it looks as though 2014 will be a pivotal year in the implementation of this technology.
Going forward, it is anticipated that these figures will continue to grow and Cloud business intelligence will further cement its place at the table. This can largely be attributed to the fact that Cloud BI is no longer associated solely with smaller businesses. The increase in adoption rates by larger companies – and the success stories that ensue – will encourage more businesses to make the transition.
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