Suppose you engaged a group of people in a conversation about clouds — the cyber ones — and asked them to describe what they are. Many of them would probably say that clouds are simply virtual spaces that you can access wherever you are (provided you have an internet connection) and where you can safely store your data. These individuals would, of course, be correct… but the power of cloud computing goes way beyond its storage capabilities.
For example, you may already know that the cloud can give you much faster access to services and platforms, without the need to install additional software on your device.
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However, what has been more discussed in business communities recently — although still not as often as perhaps it should be — is that the cloud itself can have enough computing power to be able to process large amounts of data and help users make better business decisions. Let’s expand on that idea right now.
What exactly is business intelligence in the cloud?
Cloud Business Intelligence, commonly known as “Cloud BI,” is an approach to data analysis and decision-making that uses the power of cloud computing to provide businesses with valuable insights and strategic advantages.
In other words, Cloud Business Intelligence is a process that involves delivering business intelligence services through cloud computing models to provide organizations with a streamlined and scalable approach for collecting, analyzing and visualizing data from multiple sources.
Cloud BI eliminates the need for complex on-site infrastructure and enables organizations to tap into abundant computational resources and valuable data insights from anywhere – as long as they have an internet connection. As a result, it streamlines the process of making informed decisions, encourages innovation and provides a competitive edge in today’s data-driven world.
How does Cloud BI work?
The way a Cloud Business Intelligence solution operates can be described as a sophisticated, yet highly accessible, ecosystem. First, it involves the integration of various data sources, which may include databases, spreadsheets and a wide range of online services. These data streams are then aggregated and harmonized in a centralized cloud-based repository. Why? To ensure consistency and accuracy. The goal here is to make the data suitable for analysis.
Once the data is ready, a cloud-based business intelligence solution uses the cloud’s computational power to perform a range of analytics. This can include anything from basic descriptive statistics to advanced predictive modeling and machine learning algorithms. The cloud’s scalability allows these operations to be performed efficiently, regardless of the volume and complexity of the data. The results are then visualized through intuitive dashboards and reports, which makes it easy for users to identify data trends, correlations and insights.
Cloud business intelligence use cases
To better explain why the use of cloud BI solutions is becoming more and more popular, let’s look at the 8 most common use cases:
1. Data Visualization and Dashboards
Cloud BI tools allow organizations to create interactive and visually appealing dashboards and reports. WIth their help, users can easily track key performance indicators (KPIs) and gain insights into their company’s performance.
2. Predictive Analytics:
Cloud BI can leverage machine learning and predictive analytics to forecast trends, identify patterns and make data-driven predictions about future business outcomes. This is valuable for demand forecasting, risk management and customer behavior analysis.
3. Customer Analytics
Cloud BI tools enable organizations to learn more about their customers and better understand their needs. To be more specific, companies can use Cloud BI to segment customers, analyze their behavior and personalize their products based on their findings.
4. Self-Service Analytics
Cloud BI enables even non-technical users to perform advanced analytics and create their own reports without relying on their IT teams.
5. Sales and Marketing
Businesses can use Cloud BI to analyze sales data, track marketing campaign performance and measure the effectiveness of their marketing channels. This translates into them being able to better optimize their sales and marketing strategies.
6. Financial Reporting
Finance departments can use Cloud Business Intelligence to improve their performance in the context of defining budgets, financial planning and real-time financial reporting.
7. Supply Chain Analytics
Cloud BI helps optimize supply chain operations by providing insights into inventory management, demand forecasting, supplier performance and logistics.
8. Human Resources
HR teams can use Cloud BI tools to analyze employee data, track workforce trends and improve talent management. This can include employee retention analysis, performance reviews and workforce planning.
How is cloud computing influencing business intelligence?
Cloud computing has had an enormous impact on the field of business intelligence (BI) — especially in the past few years — by fundamentally changing how organizations collect, analyze and use data for decision-making.
One of the byproducts of merging these two worlds is the improved scalability and flexibility offered by cloud-based BI solutions. Companies can now easily adjust their resources to meet their ever-changing needs, which eliminates the burden of maintaining an expensive on-site IT infrastructure. This shift toward a pay-as-you-go model makes BI accessible to all businesses — no matter their nature, size, location, or technological maturity.
Additionally, cloud-based BI supports remote access and collaboration, which allows decision-makers to access crucial insights from virtually any location on the planet. This increased accessibility enables organizations to respond much quicker to market changes, while the integration of data from various sources allows them to uncover much deeper insights and gain a competitive advantage.
This is all to say that by embracing cloud computing, today’s organizations are not just adapting to the digital age but are using technology to get the most out of their data and drive growth.
What is ‘SaaS’ business intelligence?
SaaS Business Intelligence (SaaS BI) is an innovative, cloud-based framework for delivering business intelligence tools.
Here, instead of organizations taking care of the provisioning and maintenance of BI software through the use of their own servers, they go for a subscription-based model in which the software is hosted and managed by third-party providers in the cloud environment.
This approach offers enhanced accessibility and flexibility, as users can access BI tools and insights wherever they are (again, provided that they have an internet connection).
SaaS BI eliminates the need for substantial upfront investments in infrastructure and software, making BI more cost-effective and accessible to organizations of varying sizes. Plus, because it’s the providers who take care of software updates, security and maintenance, users are free to focus on other aspects of their business.
Based on what we have discussed in this article, it should be quite clear that the use of Cloud Business Intelligence (BI) tools is not just a fleeting trend, but rather one of the cornerstones of this digital business era we live and operate in.
Cloud BI is destined to shape the future of how organizations collect and use data, especially as more and more solutions use the latest AI and machine learning technologies to constantly increase the accuracy of analyses and expand the functionality scope.
Of course, there’s only so much that we can cover in one article about Cloud BI technologies. For example, we didn’t manage to touch on the issue of who can help with operating cloud-based Business Intelligence systems – and how?
This does not mean, however, that you have to try to find more information on your own. Those well-versed in both cloud computing and business intelligence can help you in this regard.
Therefore, we strongly encourage you to connect with our cloud consulting services team, whose dedicated agents will be happy to answer all your questions related to Cloud BI.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.