With Business Intelligence, It’s Okay To Have Your Head In The Cloud(s)Jason Siddall
The more we learn about the cloud, the more, it seems, there is to learn about the cloud! But no matter how much we do or don’t understand about it, there’s no escaping one simple fact: As a business, moving your computing from a terrestrial server to the Cloud has so many advantages it’s getting to the point where it’s not really a decision about which you have to think too hard. Reduced IT costs, infinite scalability, business continuity, access to automatic updates, and flexibility of work practices are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy. You can read more on this in our recent blog.
So when it comes to business intelligence, it’s not hard to see the incredible possibilities the cloud presents. But what do we actually mean when we talk about business intelligence?
Essentially, business intelligence (BI) refers to the practice of collecting, analysing, integrating and presenting business information, as well as the technologies and applications used to do this. Business intelligence systems offer historical as well as current and predictive views of your operation, while applications handle production, sales and finances, among many other data sources.
Many savvy businesses are realising that data and content are not actually two separate aspects of information management. Instead, they should form part of a wholly integrated approach to enterprise. Business Intelligence applications enable you to do exactly this, thus allowing you to manage your organisation’s information in a much smarter way.
When you first start using any methodologies or tools that involve business intelligence, it’s important to remember one very significant thing: They’re not only for finding and measuring those things in your company that are running well! In fact, there’s definitely something wrong if your tools only give you information that you already know! The trick is to find out what’s not working, so you can improve and fix it. Maybe there’s a bottleneck when it comes to information flow? Perhaps there’s an interrupted process or even a problem with some of your employees? This is where Business Intelligence is so powerful. By cross-referencing information from different databases, it helps you access and analyse all this data – and more.
The Benefits Of Business Intelligence In The Cloud
There are many, many important features of business intelligence applications, but some of the most valuable include being your ability to discover and identify new business opportunities, identify spare costs, optimise prices, adopt quick response times to changing market demands, and have easily accessible data reports.
What does this mean in terms of delivering actionable information for leadership? Well, here are just a few ways businesses can use BI to assist their management with organisation and decision-making:
- Measuring, tracking and predicting financial performance and sales.
- Analysing customer behaviour, sales trends and buying patterns.
- Improving supply chain efficacy and delivery.
- Optimising processes and operational performance.
- Risk analysis.
- Customer relationship management.
Cloud computing and Business Intelligence are an ideal match. BI is all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time, and cloud-based solutions are the way to do it. The true beauty of cloud-based BI applications is that they are accessible on any number of web browsers and devices. This overcomes the traditional barriers created by terrestrial servers, which require you to be on site in order to gain access.
Cloud-based BI has other significant advantages over on-site servers, including:
- Set Up Speed – if you are an IT specialist, cloud BI is easier to setup and reduces IT costs.
- Deployment Speed – because they don’t need any additional hardware or software installations, cloud BI apps are quick and easy to deploy.
- Flexibility and Scalability – cloud applications can scale as rapidly as your business, and new users can be easily added.
- Accessibility – as with all cloud-based applications, BI applications can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, by anyone in the organisation. This greatly increases work flexibility and facilitates employees who work remotely.
- Power – cloud solutions are now every bit as powerful as on-site ones and offer users a depth-of-features that was previously only available on software that was locally installed.
- Real-time access to business-critical data – from anywhere at any time.
- Security – the cloud greatly simplifies accessing secure data across your business. Traditionally, highly secure data was locked up in the on-site installation. When you store data in the cloud, you can access that data securely without people having to go through a VPN.
Of course, on-site servers do have their advantages. Physical proximity to stored data, coupled with hardware access and upgrade capabilities are useful. But they are hugely expensive to scale, and you need considerably more office space. There is also the very real risk of data loss in the case of a hardware failure.
At the end of the day, it really depends on the type of business you have, but more and more businesses are opting to run their Business Intelligence applications in the cloud.
Your Ideal Cloud-Based Solutions Provider
As you can see, migrating your business’ services and Business Intelligence applications into a cloud-based environment makes you far more competitive in today’s ever-connected world. At Strategic Asset Management Solutions, we deliver a wide range of Cloud-based computing services, including storage, servers, databases, networking and software.