Last week I was part of a panel discussion with Robin Bloor of the Bloor Group and Marc Clark from Teradata to discuss the TCO of cloud analytics and the strategic benefits and challenges of cloud deployments. The reality is that more organizations are looking to the cloud due to broader storage, big data management, and perceptions of lower cost and easier to maintain solutions. As organizations struggle with larger and more complex data sets, this trend will become even broader. Businesses are already struggling with their data and trying to get value out of their information assets. One of the benefits of cloud analytics and computing in general is the ability for small and mid-sized companies to take advantage of technology and applications that may have previously been out of reach.
Within analytics specifically, SMBs have been hard pressed to take advantage of solutions that required new hardware and large up front investments. Although many solutions now provide offerings targeted specifically to this market, the reality for many is that without a data centre or dedicated analytics and data warehousing expertise in-house, the ability to build complex applications becomes a challenge. Simple analytics are one thing, so is the ability to access general business data. The challenge comes from managing diverse data sets – both internal and external to the organization – and transforming raw data into business insights that can be tied to competitive advantage on an ongoing basis.
The key benefits of cloud analytics for this audience is twofold:
- Cloud storage eliminates the need for hardware acquisition and internal management of data and infrastructure
- Managed services or SaaS (Software as a Service) type offerings provide analytics insight and expertise to support an organization’s analytics goals
Even with these benefits, the main thing for organizations to remember is the requirement to tie any cloud analytics initiative to a business challenge being experienced. Leveraging the cloud for its own sake will not determine success. Organizations require a direct tie in to identify how a cloud analytics strategy will help drive better analytics and business visibility.
For more insights into the debate and issues surrounding analytics in the cloud click here. Some of the topics discussed include security, big data, the benefits of cloud, how cloud and cloud analytics deployments may differ, and general considerations.