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Bringing Business Intelligence to the Cloud

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BI, or business intelligence, is perhaps the fastest growing sector in the cloud computing space. There is a reason for this. In some ways, cloud architecture is ideal for collating, analyzing and experimenting with data. Data warehousing is perfectly suited for a cloud environment.

BI is the fastest growing sector in cloud computing

According to an article in Forbes, cloud-based BI and analytics will see an 84% compound annual growth rate over the next two years. The reason for this is obvious: Implementing BI solutions has always been very expensive. As a result, only large enterprises could afford to have full suites of data warehousing and BI. With cloud computing, the cost has come down considerably, allowing even small enterprises to explore BI.

The advantages of moving BI to the cloud

The most notable advantage of moving BI to the cloud is the ease of deployment. There is no need to provision hardware and servers, so the cost of implementation automatically goes down. Similarly there is no need to worry about scalability. One can now start a full-fledged BI program, test online with live data and close the program after achieving the desired objectives. The laaS offering permits structuring your BI and analytics without restrictions. In fact, one can implement, execute and complete a BI program in less than a week. This is one of the most important reasons why cloud-based solutions will continue to hold the interest of BI professionals.

Another advantage that I see in cloud-based BI solutions is the freedom which analysts can now enjoy. Until now, IT management has always focused on production and bottom line. Competition for resources with operations usually means that BI takes backseat. But no longer. The BI team can now go ahead and execute their programs without hindering operations. The processing power required to acquire, process and transform raw data into usable intelligence can be formidable. With cloud-based BI solutions, one can now command incredibly high, on-demand processing power.

One of the reasons for the significant decrease in implementation costs is because of the pay-per-use model. For instance, looking at GMO Cloud’s pricing model which not only offers a basic plan but also has additional resource pricing, an organization no longer needs to worry about purchasing resources that they might not need, and can focus only on those that are actually being used.

Experimenting with the cloud

Although more and more organizations are moving to the cloud, there are still some common apprehensions, like security, which have kept companies from committing entirely. In such instances, it is ideal for them to start exploring BI functions. Many CTOs would not allow BI to interfere with their production activities and there is a distinct compartmentalization between production and the development environment. Moving the development and BI functions to the cloud therefore makes sense.

Once the technical team becomes well-versed with the usage and power of cloud computing, then the entire operation can be migrated with confidence.

The cost of data warehousing

BI means loads and loads of data – both historical and current. The cost of storage for such big data can cause much worry among business managers. Cloud-based data storage can mitigate these issues. Another advantage I see here is the archiving of data. And with cloud storage one can achieve both objectives at a reasonable cost.


There are some matches which are made in heaven. The match between BI and the cloud is one such relationship. There is every reason to believe that the next couple of years will witness an exponential growth in use of cloud computing for BI and analytics.

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About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur,  geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one.  He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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