Movements toward cloud-based analytics are unsurprising based on all the potential benefits available to enterprise businesses, especially ones seeking to digitize. In a survey conducted by IDC, 76 percent of users cited “speed to deployment” as the top reason for the shift. If a company wants to get started right away without buying any hardware or configuring anything, hosted solutions (like cloud-based analytics) are unbeatable. In these systems, users and shared dashboards can be deployed within minutes.
Cloud-based analytics refer to the use of cloud computing to provide business users with more access to the data and analytical functionality needed to forecast business outcomes, calculate risks, predict market shifts, develop profitable promotions, and make more informed business decisions.
Compared with companies that take solely an “on premise” approach, research has revealed that companies that take a cloud-based approach are able to get analytical capability into the hands of more users, support more self-sufficiency for users with analytics, and ultimately create a more engaged workforce when it comes to making data-driven decisions.
Cloud-based computing has become very widespread, particularly in line-of-business applications from vendors such as Salesforce or Adaptive Insights. Ventana research has also seen a recent rise in the acceptance and usage of cloud-based analytics.
There has been growth in the market niche of cloud-only analytics vendors such as GoodData or TIBCO Spotfire Cloud as well as cloud-based delivery by nearly all the on-premises analytics vendors. Almost half (48 percent) of organizations in Ventana’s research on data and analytics in the cloud are using cloud-based analytics today, and two-thirds of respondents said they expect to be using cloud-based analytics within 12 months.
Surprisingly, only 1 percent surveyed said they do not intend to use cloud-based analytics at some point. This popularity leads to the question of how to maximize the value of investments in cloud-based analytics. One of most common arguments for cloud-based analytics is that these analytics empower business users with modern analytics tools allow users to work with data without relying on IT. Part of the premise of cloud computing, in general, is to reduce reliance on in-house IT. The cloud enables enterprises to concentrate on the business at hand, IT does not need to set up systems and cloud-based services can often be purchased by other business members without a capital requisition process.
Cloud-based analytics diminishes IT’s administrative burden; IT no longer has to acquire, install and configure hardware and the associated software for users to have analytic access. Ongoing maintenance for IT is also minimized since some of the responsibility is now placed upon the cloud application provider.
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Cloud-based analytics have benefits beyond lessening the administration burden on IT. Organizations in the Ventana research project most often ranked first or second improved in communication and knowledge sharing (39 percent), improved efficiency in business processes (35 percent) and decreased time to market (24 percent).
The findings are no surprise since cloud-based systems permit easy access to data from any device in any location. Ready access improves communication, efficiency and consistency for data review as individuals work within a warehouse or on a shop floor or meeting with customers and clients. In addition, in Ventana’s research more than half (52 percent) of organizations reported improved data quality and data management as an additional benefit.
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For these and other reasons, users want to be self-sufficient. In the data and analytics in the cloud research, usability was labeled as very important by two-thirds (63 percent) of participants and was the highest-ranked of seven evaluation criterion.
The research found that most business users do not access their cloud-based analytics without the help of IT. Only 40 percent surveyed said they could analyze the data without assistance. If users are unable to work independently of IT and properly analyze data, then the freedom for IT brought on by cloud-based analytics is undermined. According to Ventana’s research, those that operate without IT are both more confident (77 percent vs. 44 percent) and more often satisfied (71 percent vs. 55 percent) in their ability to use cloud-based analytics than those that do not.
All the statistics imply the steps that businesses need to take after cloud-based analytics are introduced to the work ecosystem. Users need to be trained to reap the benefit of the analytics system as well as help decrease the work for the IT department. Ventana’s research should be taken as advice for enterprises as they move their operations digitally.