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Cloud computing and business intelligence

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According to Gartner, business intelligence and analytics will remain top focus for CIOs through 2017, and cloud-based business intelligence (BI) is projected to grow from $0.75 billion in 2013 to $2.94 billion in 2018 (download source here). Cloud computing has been gaining traction thanks to improvements in technology, but while this is significant, it has been mostly based on technological innovation rather than business requirements.

cloudbusinessBusiness intelligence, on the other hand, is all set to provide past, present and future insights into your business. This is achieved through the use of an array of technologies, methodologies and practices that stretches from analytics and reporting to data mining and predictive analytics. In providing an accurate picture of the business at a specific point in time, business intelligence provides your organization with the means to design its business strategy based on factual data.

Cloud computing serves as a repository for both structured and unstructured data, thus forming an ideal platform to provide business intelligence applications with data gathered from a whole range of devices at any time and anywhere. The flexibility and scalability of the cloud acts as an ideal complement to business intelligence activities.

The “democratization” of the cloud is now allowing organizations that have used business intelligence with on-premises applications and on a limited scale to reach a whole new level—all through the use of storage, networking and tools that can sift through big data (coupled with analytics capabilities).

Many organizations are unable to staff or master the complexity required to manage a BI infrastructure, but with the cloud these organizations can leave it up to their service provider to both operate and manage the infrastructure and the business intelligence applications. This can be a more cost effective alternative as well as a better way to disseminate information compared to an on-premises infrastructure.

For example, we are seeing organizations test their proofs of concept of business intelligence-based applications in the cloud prior to on-premises deployment. Those deploying these applications on the cloud have seen reduced costs, shortened implementation timelines and increased productivity.

While the benefits are undeniable, security remains an issue for many organizations that do not look forward to having their data crossing borders and falling under foreign jurisdictions. There are also other challenges, including the issue of being able to move large amounts of data, concerns about serviceability and the matter of the complexity that stems from integration.

After gaining acceptance, cloud is gaining maturity and organizations are looking at cloud-based business intelligence to provide them with meaningful business data insight—anytime, anywhere and to a level of quality that hasn’t been seen before. I think cloud computing and business intelligence offers an ideal combination, but what are your thoughts? Please check out the IBM Cloud Computing website and leave your comments below to begin the discussion.

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