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Mixed reactions to cloud BI and analytics

20/04/2016 by Sharon Shahzad


Cloud computing has opened many opportunities for people, and business intelligence (BI) is one area that companies can find hosted in the cloud. Both the management and analysis of data in the cloud can simplify technological deployments and updates, not to mention reducing IT costs. However, adoption levels remain low, even though there are many potential benefits.

As the cloud computing era has taken hold, many big data platforms, database and data warehouse vendors have made a rush to diversify their cloud services. The same is true of BI developers, who have quickly begun creating new analytics tools. Meanwhile, there are a rising number of companies signing up to manage, store and analyse information on cloud-based systems. However, doing big data analytics in the cloud is still receiving mixed reactions, and though some firms are going all-in, many others are preferring to attempt a hybrid method, testing the water first.

Overall, the cloud services market has been gaining ground, and the industry continues to show rapid growth. In January, Gartner predicted that public-cloud revenue is expected to rise by 38 per cent across the world in 2016. As a result, the infrastructure-as-a-service segment could reach a value of $22.4bn. Meanwhile, software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales are set to reach $37.7bn, a rise of 20 per cent.

However, though there are major gains in the industry, BI and data analytics in the cloud are not likely to hit the mainstream yet. These are the views stemming from TDWI’s survey of business and IT professionals in May 2015. Of the 309 respondents, just 35 per cent said that their companies were actively using cloud tools for analytical or data management purposes. Another 35 per cent said it was something they were considering. In other findings from TDWI, business analytical tools and SaaS tools were ranked lowly in a listing of the most important self-service BI initiatives, coming second-to-last and last respectively.

In addition, despite 50 per cent of people citing SaaS tools as very or somewhat important, and 46 per cent recognising cloud BI tools likewise, data visualisation, self-service dashboard authoring and self-service data discovery were named the top three, each with over 75 per cent. In a report, analysts from TDWI said that cloud analytical technologies remain immature, and the findings reflect the “continuing concern about security and governance of sensitive data and analytics (applications)” in the cloud.

Applying BI in the cloud is likely to gain in use over the coming months and years, but though conducting such work online offers many benefits, there remain concerns over its future use.

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