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Why Cloud-First is the Best for Business Analytics

 Cloud-first thinking means that more and more of your employees would be making data driven decision.

The cloud has been inching its way into enterprises over the last few years and is now part of the IT departments of the world’s top companies.  Every company worth its salt is using some kind of cloud service.  It could be Google Docs or Box, or Workday or Marketo, or Salesforce.com.  As such, more and more companies and their employees are now relying on cloud services to do a significant portion of their work.

And this is the reason why business analytics is next in line.  Most enterprises are stuck in the past when it comes to capturing important business data and storing these, and their agility is affected.  What’s more, because business needs are exploding and rapidly changing, what worked five years ago no longer works now.

Business analytics will be fueled by big data

According to IDC (International Data Corporation), the business analytics segment will be earning $51 billion by 2016 and this is largely going to be fueled by big data.  At that rate, the industry will be growing at an average of 10 per cent a year.  Give it four more years and, by 2020, it will be a $150-billion industry, growing thrice its revenues in 2016!

And because your business analytics technologies are already ten to fifteen years old or older, you would surely need to change them.  The cloud presents you with a cost-effective way to do just that.  Being on the cloud is very important, especially for data used for business analytics.  The cloud could provide you with a quick, easy, reliable and, most importantly, an elastic way to process your increasingly complex requests.

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What is cloud-first?

But it is not enough to be just cloud ready.  You need to be cloud-first.  This means that you have to rethink your business analytics process in terms of it being multi-tenant and available to the public.  It also means that you would be able to get data and value from unstructured data coming from unconventional sources, such as Facebook statuses, Twitter mentions, Box files, RSS feeds, Yelp reviews, shared documents and others.  Being cloud-first enables you to gather all these and transform the data into insights for your business.

On the other hand, being just cloud ready feels like compromising.  You do not really want to get rid of the technology you have and the systems you are currently using.  But you want to host them on the cloud.  It is easy to see where this fails.  You need the technology that the cloud offers to process, prepare, transform and analyze your data.  You cannot keep on using the technologies you have now, because these are no longer enough.

Your technologies now are not going to grow with your needs.  What’s more, trying to hold on to dying or obsolete technologies would only mean that you would not be able to take full advantage of your data.

Traditional business analytics are a turn-off

Traditional business analytics and reporting tend to be very complex and difficult to do.  This turns off most employees from even trying to get into the data.  So what do you do?  Make accessing the data as painless as possible, and the software that you use as powerful and as feature-rich as possible.  This way, your employees would be able to access the data and gain insights from it.  You should also make sure that they can access the data via mobile.  In short, cloud-first thinking means that more and more of your employees would be making data driven decision.

Is your enterprise cloud-first? Tell us in the comment section below.

Photo courtesy of scott_oakley.[/expand]

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