According to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing research, 81% of organizations have at least one application in the cloud. No wonder you hear a lot of talk about moving business intelligence to the cloud. So, if right now you’re trying to figure out what makes the cloud so popular and whether it is the right place for your BI solution, keep on reading. Below, I dwell on the idea of cloud business intelligence and share my thoughts about why cloud business intelligence solutions are worth considering.
Cloud business analytics and its deployment models
Cloud-based business intelligence is the process of transforming data into meaningful insights with the help of technology, which is partially or fully conducted in the cloud environment.
Cloud BI solutions allow companies to:
- Eliminate all hardware-related BI costs.
- Deploy a BI solution fast as well as scale it up and down in storage and compute resources time- and cost-effectively.
- Access data via any web browser or mobile device.
- Ensure BI solution’s high availability and fault-tolerance.
- Securely share actionable insights among colleagues.
A web-based BI solution or its part (e.g., data storage) can function within 3 cloud types:
A public cloud implies that the infrastructure costs are split among cloud tenants, which makes it the most affordable option for cloud BI. It’s a great option for small and mid-sized businesses with limited budget calls or companies dealing with big data workloads.
For example, in one of ScienceSoft’s projects, we hosted a big data analytics solution in Azure and AWS clouds to let a market research company accommodate and effectively process the continuously growing amount of data thanks to storage and compute cloud resources. At the same time, they were able to meet their budget requirements due to reasonable public cloud pricing.
If you worry about regulatory compliance or data security, I advise deploying a BI solution in a private cloud. Being the most expensive cloud option, the private cloud provides dedicated storage and compute resources exclusively at your company’s disposal.
If you cannot afford locating the whole BI solution in the private cloud but have to comply with strict regulations (HIPAA, GLBA, GDPR, etc.), a hybrid cloud is your way to go. This computing environment combines the traits of a public cloud and a private cloud. By choosing this option, you can, say, store and analyze your sensitive data in the private cloud and experiment with big data in the public one.
Cloud BI software capabilities to look for
When deciding on placing BI in the cloud, many companies face the dilemma of what software to choose to structure their BI solution with. Modern BI software offers a wide range of capabilities, and, as a BI consultant, I advise you to prioritize the following ones:
- Built-in data management capabilities – to allow extracting data from multiple sources, transforming it into the required format suitable for analysis as well as cleansing data to ensure its high quality.
- Advanced analytics capabilities – to facilitate data mining and predictive analytics for effective root-cause analysis and accurate forecasting.
- Rich cloud reporting and visualization capabilities – to enable every user to obtain the required analytics insights in the comprehendible format.
- Collaborative capabilities – to share analytics with colleagues in real time for quicker decision-making and data democratization.
In case you are a bit overwhelmed with the whole variety of cloud business intelligence software, you can always resort to professional consultancy for assistance or fix the software-related issues once and for all by opting for data analytics as a service.
Top cloud business intelligence tools
With the above capabilities taken into account and drawing on our experience with cloud-based BI solutions, ScienceSoft presents you with its list of top web-based business intelligence tools.
Power BI is a recognized leader in analytics and business intelligence platforms. Affordable pricing, intuitive interface, and the ability to address analytical challenges of different complexity make Microsoft Power BI top our list.
Services: Power BI Pro, Power BI Premium, Power BI Mobile, Power BI Embedded, Power BI Report Server.
Pricing: Power BI Mobile – free, Power BI Pro – $9.99/user/month, Power BI Premium – starting from $4,995/dedicated resources/month.
Demo: Power BI
The tool is praised for its unique associative analytics engine in combination with drag-and-drop visualization and data storytelling functionality.
Pricing: Qlik Sense Business edition – $30/user/month, Qlik Sense Enterprise: Professional User – $70/user/month, Analyzer User – $40/ user/month.
With its user-friendly interface, Tableau offers such capabilities as vast data integration, augmented data preparation, advanced data analysis, rich visualization, secure collaboration, and much more.
Services: Tableau Prep, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Data Management, Tableau Server Management, Tableau Mobile, Embedded Analytics.
Pricing: Tableau Creator – $70/user/month, Tableau Explorer – $35- $42/user/month (depending on the deployment model), Tableau Viewer – $15/user/month.
It’s time to benefit from the synergy of BI and the cloud!
Cloud computing is already a business requirement rather than an option because of scalability, cost-effectiveness, and high service availability it offers. So, if you want to reap the above cloud benefits with your BI solution, let your first step be choosing a reliable vendor that will help your develop your BI implementation strategy and guide you towards your project’s success. In case you are looking for competent assistance, feel free to consider ScienceSoft for this task.