Cloud BI and analytics are secure answers to providing on-the-go staff with analytics insight.
For decades, analytics was exclusively a “power-user” activity that required physical access to a large server platform. The advent of desktop BI tools began to chip away at this model, expanding access and providing greater ease of use.
Field users might receive a few simple alerts or be able to view a red, yellow, or green indicator dashboard, but they did not have access to drill-down, slice-and-dice, and answer follow-up questions. These users needed to be in two places at one time: in the field with their customers and at a desktop to access the information they needed to make decisions. Performing analysis on data required employees to be in their offices.
Enter the cloud with its new options for delivering BI capabilities including SaaS, private, and public models. Companies can now access internet-based computing resources that reduce or eliminate hardware, infrastructure, and management costs.
Cloud analytics can be securely accessed and managed from anywhere. When needing additional storage, computing power, or user logins, administrators just purchase what they need online and the resources are available almost instantaneously.
Imagine the process and time required to purchase, configure, and stand up a new server within traditional corporate data centers. The results from a recent survey show that reducing IT operational costs is the main driver for adopting cloud-based BI and analytics. With simplified hardware, networking, and security responsibilities, organizations can focus on providing users with the best data and analysis experiences.
Expanding Accessibility to Insights
With the cloud, you can deploy an analytics solution that goes wherever your employees go, untethering them from their desktops. Cloud-friendly BI provides tools that are ready to work and perform well with mobile devices, because most support responsive user interfaces required for smaller mobile devices.
With cloud BI your data is secure and in a safe place where employees can access it wherever they are, whenever they need it. How much more effectively could traveling regional managers be if they could interactively analyze store metrics during performance reviews with store supervisors? If regional managers could bring printed reports covering every possible view that comes up during their conversations with customers?
Starting with a Cloud Analytics Beta
When you are ready to validate the benefits of cloud BI, start with a targeted set of commercial customers or an internal team that is starved for improved analytics access. Are there current situations that require “HQ requests for data” or “numbers that have to be run when someone gets back into the office” before the process can move to the next step?
Deploy existing software or procure trial licenses for cloud-friendly BI tools. Focus on a few use cases for your first experiments, taking note of what works and what doesn’t work as you refine your cloud BI implementation. Then, scale out the successes to additional customers or employees in the field. With cloud BI, your company gains a passport to delivering analytics anywhere.
Lance Van Winter is a Support and Services Manager at Jinfonet Software.
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