Business Intelligence (BI). The Cloud. Two terms we’re all fairly familiar with in isolation. Combining the two, though, makes for some interesting results and certainly, something businesses of all sizes should be looking into. There are many and various benefits for businesses who deploy their BI solutions via the cloud. One of the added benefits of the cloud is that it is applicable to businesses of all sizes as well, so whether you have 10 employees or 10,000 the benefits below are all relevant. BI tools and cloud computing are increasingly accessible and advanced in the capabilities they can deliver, there’s no reason to wait. In fact, Cloud BI adoption is increasing rapidly, with levels in 2018 doubling those from 2016.
Perhaps the primary benefit of deploying your BI solutions in the cloud is that they’re then accessible from anywhere. If you’re part of the ever-increasing proportion of businesses that have employees working on the move or in different locations, then this is especially pertinent. It’s no use having data stored and accessed centrally if that isn’t where your people are.
This also enables you to have greater control over the data that feeds your BI solutions. When it is managed via the cloud, one version of the data can be distributed instantly to all users. This avoids the complex situations of having variations in different versions which can lead to scenarios of data chaos. Your BI should help make data-driven decision making easier, not more difficult.
Most modern BI solutions are required to pull data in from any number of different sources. Commonly, we see businesses integrate their solutions with CRMs, finance software, emails, manufacturing software – whatever it is that needs reporting on. These functions are also increasingly hosted in the cloud meaning that integrating your BI solution with them is even easier when it, too, is deployed via the cloud. Data sources are constantly increasing in numbers, complexity, and variety. The halcyon days of centralising everything into a single, on-premise data warehouse are numbered.
Not only does it make good technical sense to integrate your BI solutions with other functions hosted on via the cloud, but it also makes good business-sense to centralise things in this way. This simplifies processes and business functions and makes the whole machine turn smoother. This isn’t just a win for BI solutions then, but wider operations too.
Anyone who has any solutions deployed or hosted in the cloud understands how flexible they can then be. Cloud infrastructure allows you to adapt to your situation, increasing or decreasing capacity as and when you need it. That means you only pay for the functionality, user licenses or storage you need and use and don’t end up wasting money. Business changes fast and your BI solution needs to be able to do the same.
Alongside the flexibility, BI cloud solutions also offer a fast, easy and inexpensive deployment when compared to traditionally-hosted tools. You won’t have to lay any money out for additional hardware, let your chosen cloud provider take care of that. And because you’re relying on their hardware, which is well backed-up, you don’t have to worry about accidental data loss either.
The cloud offers the best environment for Business Intelligence solutions. It offers greater efficiency, ease of use, increased flexibility and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). More than this, the cloud is where today’s data, and tomorrow’s data, will be created, collected and stored. Analysing it elsewhere opens up a whole world of potential stumbling blocks. Far simpler to meet the data where it is. Keeping things on the cloud also confers an added security benefit. In today’s self-service environment, hosting BI solutions in the cloud means you have a secure way to access that data without requiring users to access it via potentially complex and unwieldy VPNs. So, accessing BI in the cloud isn’t just easier, it’s more secure as well.
It is hard to sum up the benefits of hosting BI in the cloud into a few hundred words or sentences. But ultimately it is about giving decision makers the easiest and most efficient access to data analytics possible.