Today on the Spotfire blog, we’re sharing a Q&A on cloud BI with Shawn Rogers (@shawnrog), Vice President Research for Business Intelligence at Enterprise Management Associates. Rogers will join us tomorrow to record an On-Demand Webcast on “Cloud Analytics and the Consumer”.
Q: Who benefits most from cloud BI?
A: The benefit is two-fold to users and companies. Research shows that companies get to skip much of the up-front costs when they go with BI in the cloud. And in the long-term, it requires less head count in maintaining and operational costs. Additionally, projects often get off the ground faster because standing up cloud BI solutions happens more quickly.
End-users also benefit from the SaaS vendors’ purpose-built BI software. These solutions typically offer the user a better interface, newer features and ease-of-use. Additionally, users benefit from the web-based solutions because they are more mobile and offer anytime access to data.
Q: Is there an instance where you would recommend against cloud BI solutions?
A: The place where this becomes an issue is when it comes time to make a decision. You want to know how easy it is to manage security and data outside your internal firewall. Sometimes, extremely sensitive data or government regulations can keep BI out of the cloud for some companies. For instance, in some parts of EMEA, data can’t leave the country. That may produce challenges with cloud BI solutions.
Q: How do you build buy-in for a cloud solution in highly regulated industries?
A: The cloud has become a sturdy place to do work. Often, vendor data centers are more secure than their customers’ because the vendors’ livelihood depends on it. In many cases, cloud vendors are setting brand new best practices.
To build buy-in for a cloud BI solution in a highly regulated industry, it’s important to look at peer success stories, vendor best practices and begin with pilot projects. Companies can see more success if they grow into a cloud BI solution step-by-step and achieve successes along the way.
Q: Can users take advantage of the simplicity of cloud if data is still stored in spreadsheets and other departmental silos?
A: Data integration is still one of the challenges surrounding cloud BI. The data integrators still have more work to do in this area, but they are working toward innovations that will help the cloud grow faster.
Q: What results can companies expect from implementing a cloud BI solution?
A: Recent EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) research shows some good news for companies considering cloud BI. A survey on the effectiveness of cloud purchase decisions shows:
- 76% of respondents had seen real or measurable cost savings in their organizations
- 23% saw a 30% or more savings in operational costs
- 97% experienced operational savings
- 39% saw 30% or greater savings in capital costs
Under certain circumstances, you’ll see cloud solutions end up costing more. The best way to evaluate the costs is to look at the vendor licensing, people costs, the length of the project and the overall total cost of ownership.
Q: How do training offerings affect cloud BI purchase decisions?
A: The main question to ask is, “What is training like from that vendor?” Some really have their acts together in the training arena. And training is important because it really affects adoption.
Some keys to look for in a vendor’s training offering include:
- Do they offer on-site or virtual training?
- Are they promoting a user community?
- Do they offer blogs and user group support?
- Do they host conferences for users?
- Do they offer professional services?
The bottom line on training is to make sure that the vendor has the training offerings and flexibility in those offerings to meet your needs.
Q: Anything you’d like to add?
A: I think self-service BI solutions in the cloud lends to a better company and user experience.