The evolution of business intelligence
Traditional business intelligence solutions have been around long before the advent of cloud business intelligence – BI is not something new that has only come along thanks to cloud computing. Traditional BI solutions were designed to help organisations collect and analyse data from various sources, such as databases, spreadsheets, and other business applications. Over time, BI solutions have evolved to include more advanced features, such as the capacity for collection of data from online sources (such as web or social media analytics), data visualisation, predictive analytics, and machine learning.
Cloud business intelligence vs traditional BI solutions
Cloud-based BI solutions offer several advantages over traditional BI solutions, including the following:
One of the primary benefits of cloud business intelligence is that it eliminates the need for on-premise infrastructure and in-house IT support. This makes it a more cost-effective solution for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources to invest in an IT infrastructure of their own – or at least, not to the scale required to provide effective BI support entirely in-house.
Another benefit is scalability. Cloud business intelligence solutions can easily scale up or down, and because of that they’re also easily adaptable to the needs of the organisation as they change over time.
A further advantage of cloud BI is that it is more flexible than traditional BI solutions. With cloud BI, users can access their data from anywhere, using any device. This means that they can access their data on the go, without having to be in the office – all that they need is an internet connection and a set of login credentials.
Cloud business intelligence tools
There are many cloud BI tools available on the market today, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Some of the most popular cloud business intelligence tools right now include the following platforms:
TimeXtender is an automated, agile platform that can work with almost any data source currently known. It offers a clear focus on security, data lineage and integrity, and also provides self-documenting, to ensure that your business always remains compliant with any legislation you may be subject to.
TouchtoneCloud is your worry-free cloud based BI solution, again offering that clear focus on security, alongside a management service that sees us look after your critical applications and keep everything in working order for you.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that provides interactive visualisations and business intelligence capabilities, with an interface simple enough for end users to create their own reports and dashboards. For more details on TouchstoneBI’s work with Microsoft’s Azure platform, click here.
How to choose the right cloud business intelligence solution
When choosing a cloud-based BI solution to support your business’ operations and decision making process, you need to consider a number of different factors and variables, including:
The platform’s capabilities
One of the most important things to bear in mind are the actual features and capabilities that a given platform can provide, and whether or not these match up with your business’ needs.
Another factor to consider is the cost of the software, and whether or not that fits in with your budget. Cloud BI solutions are typically priced on a per-user, per-month basis, but this may not be the case everywhere, so when evaluating this don’t forget to check pricing terms too.
Support and training requirements
Finally, it’s important to consider the level of support and training that is available with the software. Look for a cloud BI solution that offers comprehensive training resources and an active support and maintenance environment. Remember also that support services like maintenance and training are something that can be handled by a service provider like TouchstoneBI too.
Preparing to implement a cloud business intelligence solution
Implementing a cloud BI solution well requires careful planning beforehand. One of the first steps that should be undertaken is to identify the key stakeholders and users who will be using the software. This will help you determine the specific features and capabilities that are needed.
Next, you will need to identify the data sources that will be used with the software. Cloud business intelligence solutions can work with a wide range of data sources, from internal databases, spreadsheets, and business applications, to online data sources too – however exactly how all of these services integrate with your chosen solution may vary, and that’s why identifying your sources is a key early step when preparing for implementation.
Once the data sources have been identified, you will need to configure the software to access and analyse the data. This may require some technical expertise, so once you reach this stage it’s important to work with a vendor or consultant who has experience with cloud BI implementation – and that makes the TouchstoneBI team an ideal partner.
Conclusion: The future of business intelligence is in the cloud
Cloud business intelligence solutions are a game-changer for organisations of all sizes. They offer a flexible, easily scalable solution that also remains highly cost-effective. With the right business intelligence solution in place businesses can already gain valuable insights into their business, how it operates, and even into their customers’ tastes and habits. They can then use those insights to make better-informed decisions about how to proceed, and cloud BI only makes that ability more accessible. As the business world continues to evolve therefore, it’s clear to us that cloud BI will play an increasingly important role in helping organisations stay competitive, and succeed in their chosen marketplace.