Cost efficiency, flexibility, and availability of data are key advantages of cloud business intelligence
This year, cloud computing is set to dominate CeBIT, the international IT and telecommunications trade fair held each year near arcplan's headquarters in Germany. According to a recent survey by the analyst firm IDC, cloud computing will account for 10% of global IT expenditure by the year 2013. While we have taken advantage of cloud offerings in our private lives without hesitation for years (just think of Google Maps and Gmail), businesses have only been comfortable with a few applications (like CRM) residing in the cloud. Many companies still have doubts when it comes to shifting applications into the cloud when security is critical, as it is with business intelligence. Concerns over data security breaches and their consequences are holding some businesses back; however, the advantages of cloud-based BI clearly outweigh the potential drawbacks. Here are our most important reasons for moving business intelligence applications into the cloud.
Cost efficiency is key
Among the greatest advantages of cloud BI are cost savings and reduced capital commitment. Upgrades, maintenance and administration of on-premise software are time-consuming and costly. If companies shift their BI solutions into the cloud, they will no longer have to budget for large, up-front purchases of software packages or carry out time-consuming updates on local servers. In the cloud, upgrades are installed directly by the service provider in near real-time. Using any kind of device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet PC, or smartphone), employees can access the most recent version of their BI solution, independent of location and without having to download upgrades or request updates from the IT department. Users can therefore focus completely on data consumption and analysis, getting the most from BI without having to deal with the infrastructure.
Large- and small-scale flexibility
Companies that manage their own BI systems on-premise have invested in their infrastructure to deal with ever-increasing quantities of data. To analyze data volumes amounting to petabytes or even exabytes and have a 360-degree view of data in real-time, immense processing power and extremely large amounts of memory are required. For processor-intensive BI applications, solutions running in-house can quickly reach their limits. This makes another of cloud BI's advantages clear: the enormous flexibility afforded by cloud software deployment. Since server power and space can be reduced or increased as required, cloud solutions can be easily adjusted to suit changing requirements such as additional quantities of data. Another influencing factor is the concept of scaling, a significant consideration in the development of cloud computing. Due to the flexible leasing models of service providers, professional BI solutions are affordable even to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Complete data availability 24/7
Uninterrupted access to data is critical to enable decision making at the speed of business. Thanks to the network bandwidths available today, cloud BI ensures increased efficiency in business operations, even when users are mobile, supporting access to all reports and dashboards in real-time, regardless of location. This means that using high-speed internet, an employee in the USA can access BI data just as quickly as a colleague in Asia, for example. Faster access to important BI reports speeds up decision-making processes and, therefore improves the productivity of employees. With modern cloud BI, work delays due to slow information delivery – taking minutes to download a report or waiting for data via e-mail – are a thing of the past.
So why have we compiled this information when arcplan doesn't market a cloud BI solution? We say that arcplan is "cloud-ready," which means that it's able to be deployed in the cloud as long as our customers are comfortable with that. In fact, many of our partners offer cloud solutions built on arcplan technology. We know that many companies are cautious about shifting their BI into the cloud, so if you decide that's a priority for you, we'll be on hand with help and advice on how to make the transition.
You can find more information about cloud BI here on our blog.