Cloud computing was atop every list of IT buzzwords in 2012.
At first, companies of all sizes wanted to adopt cloud-based products as a cost-cutting measure. Then, as the remote and mobile workforce exploded over the past year, organizations began transitioning email, databases and mission-critical applications to the cloud to accommodate employee needs.
More recently, people are finding that the benefits of cloud computing extend beyond what people originally anticipated. Sure, it's cost-efficient and improves collaboration and productivity across the workplace, but its capabilities are so much more extensive than that.
Integrated data systems
Nearly every decision-maker nowadays is interested in business analytics of some sort. One of the biggest challenges, however, is that few datasets are integrated, posing a major business intelligence (BI) barrier.
With so much information – particularly vital data – moving to the cloud, having datasets within a uniform environment will make it substantially easier for that information to communicate.
"The future of the data management platform is going to be about access across various domains in real time," Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research, recently told TechTarget, adding, "We don't have a data center. Everything lives on the cloud or SaaS systems."
As a result, cloud-based BI is expected to take off over the next few years, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets study. The report projected that the worldwide cloud business analytics market will achieve a 25.8 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018, increasing from $5.3 billion to $16.5 billion during that time frame.
Benefits of cloud-based BI
The MarketsandMarkets report also revealed that, rather than cloud vendors deploying their own BI solutions, business intelligence suppliers are being forced to integrate the cloud into their solutions.
In a recent blog post for Accounting Today, iLumen CEO Rob Ganjon emphasized the way the cloud improves communication and collaboration for organizations. He said that in the past, BI solutions were never able to reach their utmost capabilities because datasets weren't able to "talk" to each other effectively.
With cloud-based environments, on the other hand, everything is stored in the same place, access is easier to obtain and the information is consistent throughout the organization. This will boost collaboration across the workplace dramatically, according to Ganjon.
In addition, he said that cloud computing makes real-time reporting easier because, as was noted, access is easier for everyone.