Across all industries, many enterprises leverage business intelligence and analytics to remain competitive and successful through efficient decision-making.
It has become increasingly important for modern businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies to optimise their processes for growth and make strategic decisions that add value to the company.
This has put Business Intelligence (BI) tools in high demand as they allow companies to source, store, and visualise large volumes of real-time business data for insight and analysis.
With BI data being so complex and diverse, there is a need to adopt cost-effective and efficient cloud BI technologies to solve such problems.
Read on to find out why cloud BI has become a vital business tool and what advantages it brings over traditional on-premise BI software.
Why are business intelligence and analytics so important?
Accessible information in the right format
It is important for modern enterprises to increase the value of their strategic decisions as well as improve their business workflows.
Business intelligence facilitates this by making the right information available to the appropriate personnel to access it on time and in the right format.
With the technological advancements being made by cloud computing, business intelligence and analytics have evolved in both accessibility and affordability.
This makes BI adoption more achievable and necessary than ever for businesses of all sizes.
A standard across industries
Before business intelligence and analytics became commonplace, they were mostly implemented by large enterprises that could afford and effectively operate complex on-premise BI software.
Startups and small businesses previously didn’t have the financial strength to afford expensive on-premise BI systems, however, modern BI systems present a more equal standard for businesses of all sizes.
This ensures that any company can leverage business intelligence and analytics to grow its business and stay competitive even with larger enterprises.
Unifying analytical processes
Cloud BI tools make it possible for businesses to retrieve data from across their organisation and view it anytime, anywhere.
This unifies analytics across core departments and allows multiple different functions to be served from one system – from data mining and management to analytics visualisation and reporting.
An insights storehouse
At its core, BI is about more than just aggregating and storing business data. It’s about providing a way to filter out this data to find exactly what key stakeholders and business leaders need to know at any time.
While data warehousing is still valuable for many businesses, utilising BI tools allows businesses to find, store, and visualise actionable insights for later reporting.
This is what separates BI and analytics from pure data warehousing and is far more valuable and influential on the long-term growth strategy of the business.
What is cloud business intelligence?
Cloud business intelligence refers to BI and analytics tools deployed within a cloud infrastructure to be accessible at any time from anywhere.
It provides companies with numerous insights from a single, unified dashboard, aggregating data from across their business regardless of location or department.
Cloud BI serves as a platform for businesses to gather data from a wide range of sources and host it in one central place, making it possible for critical business decisions to be informed by accurate, real-time data.
Benefits of cloud business intelligence and analytics
There are several key advantages of choosing cloud business intelligence and analytics over on-premise applications, including:
Having access to BI tools on the cloud means businesses no longer require up-front investment in large-scale desktop software.
Cloud BI also eliminates the need for long-term maintenance costs associated with the BI solution, making it more affordable overall as a business tool.
Easier to set up and operate
Cloud business intelligence and analytics solutions are easy to use and set up, which again reduces implementation costs and allows users to operate the software more efficiently.
Ease of integration
It is easy to integrate cloud-based business intelligence solutions with databases and third-party programs to enable a smooth flow of data. Advanced Business Intelligence solutions can undertake real-time ‘sentiment analysis’ of data gathered from social media platforms.
Deploying cloud BI software
Cloud-based BI software tends to be available in three different deployment models:
This refers to a cloud BI service in which the infrastructure is shared by multiple users, each with its own BI data and dashboards hosted on a common third-party cloud server.
This tends to be the most affordable cloud BI solution, however, also comes with the added risk of company data being hosted on a server outside the control of the business.
Modern public clouds are thankfully very secure, so businesses can rest easy that their BI platforms will be subject to the highest level of maintenance and cyber security.
The public cloud model is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t require as much customisation or control over their BI platforms.
For companies subject to stricter data security and compliance regulations, the private cloud BI model is a better fit as it provides users with exclusive resources, more customisation, and dedicated storage.
Compared to the cost of the other options available, this is the most expensive cloud business intelligence option to deploy.
Implementing a hybrid public/private cloud model is often the most balanced option between cost saving, security, and customisation.
This combines aspects of both the private and public cloud to create a custom cloud BI solution with varying access and data hosting.
This is the most dominant option out of all three as it is more secure than the public cloud option at a lesser cost than the private cloud model – offering the best of both worlds.
Capabilities to look for in cloud BI software
When you’re trying to decide on the most effective cloud BI solution for your business, there are several essential capabilities to look out for that should influence your decision.
Advanced business intelligence and analytics
BI software should be capable of facilitating and performing data mining and predictive analytics, both of which are essentials for accurate forecasting as well as effective root cause analysis.
Built-in data management
Data integration is a crucial aspect of business intelligence, so most leading cloud BI tools will be capable of extracting and cleansing data from multiple sources to then be transformed into a usable format for high-quality analysis.
For many businesses, it is essential for cloud BI reports and analytics to be easily sharable so that important insights can be communicated across the business and collaborated upon by different departments.
Visualization and cloud reporting
Your cloud BI solution must be able to generate reports in a format that is both presentable and simple enough to be translated into meaningful data to obtain detailed analytical insight.
Finding business intelligence and analytics partners
When it comes to researching and finding the best cloud BI solution for your business requirements, it helps to have the support of an experienced industry expert who can help you compare the market.
YourShortlist is recognised as a trusted, independent intermediary to IT buyers, with a rapidly expanding network of over 2400 technology Partners providing solutions in BI, ERP, finance software, and more.
We provide independent, impartial buying advice on the best solutions and providers on the market and can provide you with a free, bespoke shortlist of specially selected BI Partners.
View Partner profiles and reviews through our exclusive Partner directory and receive free call-backs from Partners with no obligation to purchase.
If you’re looking for the ideal business intelligence and analytics Partner to help your business, discuss your requirements with a member of our team today to receive your free, bespoke shortlist.