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So everything is moving to this Cloud thing these days, right? Family photo albums, letters, personal diaries, event invitations, dream logs, calendars, computer files, horoscopes and even pictures of your cat playing with a string are all being stored, accessed and managed in the Cloud – so why not BI? I can keep up with funny memes on current events & trends, as well as collaborate with my family about how great my Aunt Peggy’s New Year’s party was, all without an IT staff helping me along – thanks, Facebook! If I can use Cloud services for personal and social intelligence, then how come it’s so difficult to keep up with my business trends and effectively collaborate with team members about that information using this Cloud contraption?
Okay, it’s a trick question. Cloud-based BI is possible – and it’s getting easier.
We’re seeing a shift in thinking surrounding what the Cloud is good for. BI Resources have traditionally been kept on-premises and analyzed by query developers in order to produce a meaningful result that business people, from executives on down to the smallest cog in the corporate machine, can act upon. The future holds a more streamlined and less clunky approach to Business Intelligence with the aforementioned “Cloud thing” coming into its own – not to mention the myriad of inter-connectivity allowed by a Cloud-based solution.
A good example of this inter-connectivity is the wonderful finances application put together by Skynet – err, Google – that incorporates stock statistics, trends, company info, relevant news stories, your personal portfolio information and a wee spot for a targeted ad, all in one view. Now, imagine that type of dynamic, multi-sourced information coming to a desktop, laptop or mobile device near you that describes your business performance using real data, without a single bit of coding required.
If traditional BI were a digital dump truck full of random bits of shredded reports hobbling along the highway on square tires with IT scavengers trying unsuccessfully to rummage through it without falling out the backside, then BI in the Cloud is a private Learjet cruising comfortably at thirty thousand feet, featuring a luxurious interior stocked with alphabetized, leather bound books, and that little rolling library ladder you know you’ve always wanted to use for yourself. Cloud-based BI lets users analyze their data from anywhere with interfaces that are becoming more and more pleasing to use. Let’s be real, even us programmer types don’t like writing code if there’s a slick interface with a friendly point-and-click option to accomplish a better result.
The power shift away from IT towards the people that are the business is coming. Teens today, who can pick up a device smaller than a deck of playing cards and access the summation of human knowledge with a few taps, often don’t have a clue what going to the library and cracking open a dusty encyclopedia is like. There soon will be a day when those same kids grow up to become business leaders and employees themselves that have never known about the struggles and delays of IT staff query development. The tools to make this a reality are fast coming and the sooner you can adopt the change, the better off you’ll be.
Those that are coming to the future with me, hop on the Cloud! Those that aren’t better sign up for square wheeled rusty dump truck repair school and hope they aren’t all replaced with Learjets before you wanted to retire.
Written By: Rick Hight – Solutions Specialist (Polaris Associates & Orbit Analytics)
Orbit Analytics is an easy to use operational reporting and business intelligence solution that enables end users to develop their own analytics. Orbit offers pre-built integration with many ERP and Cloud applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Taleo, and Salesforce. Orbit Analytics is a superior reporting platform for enterprise data from any application, any data source, and on any device.