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Cloud Computing and BI 2015: Three Takeaways

Cloud-based business intelligence is now an ingrained practice at many organizations – maybe even your own. More than half of the respondents to our 2015 Cloud/Cloud BI study agree that cloud BI is important, very important or critical to their operations and planning. More than half use or plan to use cloud BI in the near future.

But other organizations are plainly and sometimes painfully stalled. The “great wave” of cloud BI is almost surely going to arrive piece by piece and not universally. Right now, private cloud models are preferred but some departments crave public cloud solutions. Organizations are wrestling third-party data that sometimes arrives with its own tools and analytics. Standards and security are known and unknown hurdles to adoption.

Here are three takeaways to keep in mind as you evaluate cloud BI in your own organization:

1. Cloud BI is still BI. Interest in cloud BI features is increasing, but, public or private, users want the same kinds of functionality in their on-premise enterprise BI platforms. Self-service, dashboards, ad-hoc query, integration/ETL and production reporting capabilities are at the front of the line. Needs vary by function but actual feature priorities are almost identical for organizations of different size. Certainly, time to value and performance goals push users toward cloud BI, but the message is, “give me what I need to do my job and don’t reinvent the wheel.” Sales and marketing are going to lead the cloud BI push so look and learn from their experience.

2. Cloud BI terminology matters. Our report goes into some detail concerning public, private and hybrid cloud adoption and there’s valuable trending data within. We also note that different users and the vendor community parse these words differently. For example, if you want to blend data that is on and off-premise, you’d necessarily employ a hybrid cloud. Though organizations plainly want to pursue this strategy, they’re less inclined to pursue something called a hybrid model. The more thoroughly you discuss terms and distinctions and what they imply for your own BI program, the more confidently you’ll move down that path.

3. Security is the only elephant in the room. Old news, yes, and it’s truer than ever: security is overwhelmingly the single biggest concern and reason why organizations are not moving toward cloud BI. Corporate leaders and decision-makers with jobs at risk in the event of a breach are most aware, yet events have shown closely held data is just as vulnerable as data in a cloud. A majority of respondents to our cloud BI survey are simply unaware of relevant industry standards which often center around security as well. To get cloud BI off and running, we’ll need to take the discussion into the open and address the boardroom as well as the rank and file.

You’ll find this and much more in our report, all free to the qualified users who filled out our survey and this is just one of over a dozen reports we’re producing this year. For those that are not a part of our research community, the report is available for purchase atwww.cloudbireport.com


Jim Ericson
Research Director
Dresner Advisory Services

Jim Ericson is a research director with Dresner Advisory Services. Jim has served as a consultant and journalist who studies end-user management practices and industry trending in the data and information management fields. From 2004 to 2013 he was the editorial director at Information Management magazine (formerly DM Review), where he created architectures for user and industry coverage for hundreds of contributors across the breadth of the data and information management industry. As lead writer he interviewed and profiled more than 100 CIOs, CTOs, and program directors in a 2010-2012 program called “25 Top Information Managers.” His related feature articles earned ASBPE national bronze and multiple Mid-Atlantic region gold and silver awards for Technical Article and for Case History feature writing.

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