What is Cloud Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) technology transforms a company’s raw data into meaningful information that assists managers, executives, and corporate users in making business-related decisions. It helps in measuring the performance and progress towards business objectives.

Within the organization, BI is used to:

  • Analyze sales price points and e-commerce reports
  • Identify marketing trends
  • Convert unstructured data into a standardized format
  • Recognize key performers
  • Evaluate supply chain data
  • Generate regular automated reports
  • Extract data from SQL server
  • Set marketing goals
  • Identify and eliminate inefficient processes, thus reducing data warehouse cost.
  • Provide accurate and real-time business information

You can choose to build your own BI software at your office premises or you can go for cloud-based BI. Sometimes, on-premises BI lacks scalability, productivity, efficiency, and flexibility. Here are some drawbacks of on-premises BI:

  • Inability to retrieve the relevant information from collected data.
  • Data is accessible to only limited users, resulting in delays in the data-delivery process.
  • Decreased performance because of insufficient information.

To overcome these drawbacks, enterprises are choosing cloud-based BI. With the cloud BI, organizations can access BI-related applications (including KPIs) (https://www.klipfolio.com/resources/articles/what-is-a-key-performance-indicator), dashboards, business analytics tools) on the internet. It helps businesses to streamline their operations and reduce the costs as it doesn’t require any additional hardware or software.

Top cloud-based BI providers:

  1. IBM Cognos Analytics (https://www.ibm.com/in-en/products/cognos-analytics)
  2. SAP BusinessObjects BI (https://www.sap.com/india/products/bi-platform.html)
  3. Sisense (https://www.sisense.com/)
  4. Microsoft Power BI Pro (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi-pro/)
  5. Amazon QuickSight (https://aws.amazon.com/quicksight/)

Why Cloud BI?

1. Easy to use

For end users, cloud-based BI is easy to set up, configure, and operate. It provides easy-to-use and visually appealing dashboards. You don’t need to hire any technical specialists to install and implement it. This means reduced complexities and costs. With cloud BI, data scientists can easily interpret and evaluate the data through real-time analysis.

2. Easy deployment of updates

Deployment of updates is difficult in on-premises BI because you need to send updates on every individual’s computer. Whereas cloud BI updates are pre-installed in servers, making the deployment of updates easy.

3. Accessible on multiple devices

One of the greatest benefits of cloud BI is accessibility. In an organization, employees of multiple departments can access the information from any devices (via the internet) and contribute to the decision-making process.

Important features and functionalities of cloud BI

1.Dashboard: provides a real-time overview of your business in the form of charts, graphs, reports, and summaries.

2.What-if-analysis: used to predict potential risks for your business, enabling your company’s executive to plan better for your business.

3.Interactive reports: enables end-users to do several data manipulations, such as data drilling, filtering, and sorting. This, in turn, helps enterprises to deliver reliable and usable business-critical information across the organization.

4.Ad-hoc reports: With the help of ad-hoc reports, even non-technical users can generate their own reports. They can select the components that they want to include in the report, focusing only on those aspects that are relevant to their query.

The current state of cloud BI

1. More than 50% of organizations leverage cloud Business Intelligence (BI) to uncover business insights in 2019

In 2019, we’re seeing a sharp upturn in cloud BI technology. Cloud BI has the power to transform business processes to a whole new level of value and competency. It provides business insights and analytics to make your business smarter.

With cloud BI, organizations can make business-related decisions with confidence because:

  • It avoids unreliable and inconsistent insights that are viewed as a hindrance to an efficient business process.
  • It provides only relevant data that are required by the data analysts, business users, and customers.
(Image credit: Dresner Advisory Services)

2. In 2019, sales and marketing are adopting cloud BI to remain competitive in an era of digital technology.

Marketing and sales teams strongly depend on data to determine: what kind of customers to target, where to place ad campaigns to drive sales of a product or service, and how to create brand awareness. In 2019, more than 60% of sales and marketing professionals are choosing cloud BI to get the minute details of a particular prospect– from (https://www.ngdata.com/what-is-customer-acquisition/) (a strategy to gain new customers) to retention (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-retention-marketing-why-you-need-to-start) (a strategy that focuses on existing customer base). This will help them to see their data in a broader perspective. With cloud BI, they are bringing the right leads at the right time, driving revenue and sales for the business.

Most required cloud BI features by marketing and sales:

  • Natural language analytics
  • Data catalog
  • Marketing and sales personalized dashboards
  • Collaborative support

(Image credit: Dresner Advisory Services)

3. Retail industries are using cloud BI to drive excellence in their everyday operations

Understanding sales activities and customers’ buying habits is extremely important for retail industries. With cloud BI solution, retailers can draw insights into buying price, customers’ satisfaction, distribution processes, back-end management costs (including production, inventory, procurement) and shipping attributes.

With the retail analysis dashboard of cloud BI, retail industries can:

  • Visualize the performance of different brands
  • Understand sales tasks
  • See buyer profile segments
  • Prioritize best-selling brands

Other benefits provided by cloud BI in retail industries:

  • It enables the brand manager to analyze the company’s data on the basis of customer reviews and compare them to their competitors.
  • It provides real-time insight into day-to-day business operations, optimizing the business process.
  • It improves sales performance.

(Image credit: Dresner Advisory Services)

4.R&D departments are at the forefront of cloud BI solutions, followed by marketing and sales.

With the advancements in technology and digitization of laboratories, voluminous data has been generating within R&D departments. For proper data management, to retrieve relevant information and perform intelligent analytics at affordable costs, R&D industries are relying strongly on cloud BI platform.

Cloud BI helps R&D with the following:

  • Aggregate a wide variety of relevant data to perform analysis in research operations.
  • Avoid duplicate and irrelevant data by upgrading experimental results in real-time.
  • Provides single reference points for linking experimental researches.

After R&D, marketing and sales departments are widely using the cloud BI platform.

(Image credit: Dresner Advisory Services)

5. 60% of organizations have ranked Amazon Web Service first among cloud BI platform providers.

Amazon QuickSight– a cloud-powered BI service of AWS– comes with machine learning capabilities that enable you to uncover the deeper insights of your business metrics.

Some key point about Amazon QuickSight:

  • It comes with a pay-per-session price. A user only needs to pay for the services that they are using.
  • It lets you create and publish interactive dashboards. You can access these dashboards from any device, and incorporate them into your websites, portals, and applications.

The given ‘Cloud BI providers’ chart depicts that in 2019:

  • Microsoft Azure is the first choice of 44% of organizations.
  • Google cloud trails Microsoft Azure.
  • 12% of organizations ranked IBM Bluemix as their first choice.
(Image credit: Dresner Advisory Services)