Business intelligence technology used to be hosted and managed primarily on the premises. As you can imagine, this required enterprises to invest in large — and often costly — infrastructure managed by large in-house IT teams.
It makes sense that, as cloud-based technology became more advanced and available for business applications, organizations started to make the shift to cloud business intelligence (BI) or hybrid systems that at least harnessed some of the flexibility of working in the cloud rather than on-premises.
In fact, one survey found over half of companies (54 percent) considered cloud BI critical or very important to their objectives as of 2020 — a number that is on the rise year over year.
What about BI and data analytics lends itself well to operating in the cloud? Here’s more on what native cloud connectivity is bringing to modern BI.
Advantages of Cloud-Based BI
Cloud-based BI is proving itself to be capable of facilitating the quick, widely accessible insights companies need to make data-driven decisions when it matters most for performance. Here are some of the areas in which cloud BI can be advantageous, especially when compared to the limitations of legacy systems.
Scalability across the ecosystem
As BI and data analytics become increasingly intertwined with decision-making and company culture, more users want and need to adopt these tools into their workflows. While increased adoption is a positive thing, it also means there’s an emerging need for tools with elastic scalability — or the ability to facilitate a growing number of users, often rapidly.
Cloud-based business intelligence is notably able to scale up quickly depending on an organization’s immediate needs, a need legacy BI long struggled to meet.
Easier access across the ecosystem
Consider for a moment how the COVID-19 pandemic required many companies to orchestrate full-time work-from-home policies for employees. This underscores the growing need for flexibility in terms of where and when people work — without losing access to important data.
Whereas on-premises solutions largely required users to be able to be in person to access the network, limiting the mobility of when and where people could harness data insights, cloud-based solutions are able to provide secure access regardless of location. This allows even workforces spread out around the world to access the insights they need based on source data that’s consistent across the organization.
Put simply, the cloud can help remote workforces get and stay on the same page in terms of how they’re able to continue utilizing BI tools.
Legacy systems struggled with a siloed infrastructure, meaning different data depositories held different assets — and often required data teams to navigate these silos. This siloed approach slowed down the time to insight, as different reports would often need to be generated based upon these separate reservoirs of data. Each data silo represented a barrier to access, slowing down how quickly information could get in front of business users using it to influence performance decisions.
Business intelligence plus native cloud connectivity are fueling more scalable, accessible, convenient and faster insights available across entire business ecosystems — whether a user is querying data from company headquarters or remotely accessing the system from half a world away. In today’s business landscape characterized by breakneck speed, increasing competitiveness and workforces spread out around the globe, it’s no wonder more organizations are harnessing cloud BI year over year.