Cloud technology has revolutionized nearly every industry - from technology to healthcare to hospitality to food service to telecommunications. Small and large businesses, the government and educational institutions depend on cloud-based software applications for many organizational functions. Cloud-based applications enable or enhance activities like more robust data storage, collaborative projects, automated marketing and more streamlined billing.
Why shouldn’t the business analytics industry be next? It makes perfect sense for business analytics to take advantage of cloud computing to increase its business value and market size.
BUSINESS ANALYTICS HAS LAGGED
To date, business analytics has not taken full advantage of cloud computing. Although many businesses have dramatically modernized their operations and are increasingly reliant on the cloud, they have not yet updated their business analytics methods. Instead, they tend to rely on the Band-Aid approach. In effect, as advancing technology demands it, these businesses use makeshift workarounds to complete tasks. The result of these Band-Aids is an inefficient patchwork of partially outdated business analytics solutions.
IT’S TIME FOR BUSINESS ANALYTICS TO JOIN THE CLOUD
The global marketing intelligence firm IDC, which tracks and analyzes IT products, trends, and markets, projects an annual growth rate of 10 percent through 2016, when the business analytics industry could reach $50.7 billion in revenue. This growth depends on a more definitive shift to cloud computing within business analytics and a definitive move away from outdated data monitoring systems that can be more than a decade old. Business analytics is still your Father’s Oldsmobile when it comes to the cloud. And it shouldn’t be.
BUILD BASED ON THE CLOUD
Companies that desperately hold onto their old methods will be left behind. A complete overhaul may be necessary to take full advantage of cloud computing. Businesses should consider whether they are “cloud-ready” or “cloud-first.”
- Cloud-ready implies thinking inside the box. It is a common result of the retention of traditional business analytics systems while trying to host them in the cloud (think Lotus Notes and Domino). While the result can be better than having no cloud computing whatsoever, this model does not optimize potential.
- Cloud-first implies a complete rebuilding of the conceptual model. Benefits include a wider array of data, real-time data insights and better value.
EXPAND YOUR USE OF THE CLOUD
Moving analytics to the cloud offers better, more reliable access to data. Currently, data that informs business analysis tends to be locked up in data warehouses. In many cases, only members of the Financial Planning and Analysis Departments can have access to analytics data. Unfortunately, it is stakeholders like customers, vendors and financial partners who are also likely to benefit from access to and use of analytical data.
Offering stakeholders more direct access to data is part of the solution. Guiding stakeholders in the use and interpretation of this data is also an important part of the solution.
Just as other industries already have, business analytics need to embrace the use of cloud computing so that it will continue to evolve into a healthy, modern and very profitable industry. One first step for your organization might be mining the information in expense reports to uncover the true cost of sales.
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