Cloud BI could ‘remove most barriers’ to data analytics

Implementing a widespread data analytics strategy across the workplace has been a dream of many decision-makers for years now, but there has never been a technology with the ability to accommodate that goal.

Until now. 

"With cloud [computing], we have the reach and scale of data access that removes most barriers to finding and accessing data, hence the rapidly-accelerating interest in big data analytics," Saugatuck analyst Bruce Guptill recently told Information Management. 

The other major issue surrounding self-service business intelligence (BI) in the past was the technology's lack of usability. Traditional BI tools would create extremely complex reports that included vast amounts of information, and were nearly impossible to translate for anyone who wasn't a data scientist. 

Some vendors have set out to resolve this problem by developing self-service BI programs. Not only do these solutions make it easy to decipher the reports – even for people with no data analytics expertise – but they are designed to provide relevant information at the right moment.

However, that still leaves the barrier of offering employees throughout the enterprise with easy access to this data – an obstacle that, as Guptill said, cloud computing is helping to eliminate. 

A recent MarketandMarkets study indicates that many decision-makers are taking note of the potential of cloud-based data analytics, Talkin' Cloud reported. The research firm projected that investment in these solutions will achieve a 25.8 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018, jumping from $5.3 billion to $16.5 billion during that time frame. 

According to the study, the rise in adoption of cloud-based solutions has driven much of this growth. The other major factor, though, has been the rapid emergence of big data analytics. 

"We have practically unlimited data available, now we really need ways to manage it, quality-control it, secure it, cleanse it, etc.," Guptill said, according to Information Management. "That's the next big thing for cloud BI and big data alike."

A recent Sugatuck study highlighted several ways cloud-based BI could make a difference, including increased access to the information. This might not sound like an innovative characteristic, but poor data access is one of the top – if not the biggest – barriers to reaching business intelligence and other data analytics goals, according to several recent studies. 

Another major advantage of the cloud, the report found, is its ability to link internal and external data. This is an enormous benefit considering the growing importance of analyzing information from social media, mobile devices and other such platforms. 

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