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Business Analytics in the Cloud: Is Sky the Limit?


Every organization embraces analytics to gather, analyze and interpret data to make strategic business decisions at some point in time. As technology evolves and the amount of data grows exponentially, the need to leverage scalable, cost-effective infrastructure is becoming imperative. With the growing adoption of big data and cloud computing, the use of off-premise analytics is burgeoning in the Information Technology (IT) industry.

Disruptive business models merged with analytics and cloud computing is changing the way businesses operate globally. The cloud business analytics applications are hosted on a virtual network, similar to the internet. According to a survey of companies, Cloud BI adoption has increased from 29% to 43% from 2013 to 2016. And, 78% of these companies are eyeing to increase the use of cloud for BI and data management in the next twelve months.

Organizations are increasingly turning to cloud-based analytical tools which generate instant insights without buying and configuring hardware. The real beauty of cloud computing is that it is accessible on multiple devices and web browsers. Moreover, one can share data and information with a lot of people at any point of time with significant speed. The ease of deployment, scalability and elasticity, minimal IT involvement, and zero capital expenditure are some of the factors driving the adoption of this utopia.

Cloud applications are replacing the traditional computing power delivered by on-premise application and are used by a vast majority of organizations for:

  • Report and dashboard generations: To build insightful data visualization, dashboard, and storyboards for various purposes.
  • Data preparation and explorations: Helps in visual navigation to filter and drill data based on the business requirements.
  • Advanced predictive analytics: Uses statistical techniques and machine learning algorithms to predict outcome
  • Business optimization: Enables allocation of resources based on cost and requirements
  • Strategic planning and simulation: For making business decisions based on organization and consumer data
  • Social Collaborations: Shares insights in context instead of switching to another application

These insights help businesses in different ways from growing, retaining and satisfying customers to meeting the financial goals of a company. Cloud-based analytics also help organizations to optimize delivery by making it connect to suppliers and business partners.

The cloud-based services are further characterized based on deployment into private, public and hosted private clouds. The private clouds are deployed behind firewalls, making data accessible to the owning organization. Public clouds are deployed outside the firewall and are open to different people and communities. Hosted private clouds combine the two other cloud deployment models and are managed by a vendor. A majority of cloud analytics services include a range of data security protocols through caching, data encryption, data segregation, security patches and regulatory compliance to safeguard the data against potential threats.

The use of cloud-based analytics is proliferating rapidly. In the world of analytical applications, cloud computing can play a significant role in improving the delivery of services to customers. By harvesting the insights gained from cloud-based analytics and using them to respond rapidly to the changing business events, organizations can gain a competitive edge over their arch rivals. Needless to say, it has the potential to become a lynch-pin of the IT industry.