In 2016, the battlefront for analytics supremacy moves to the cloud. Pure cloud players like Salesforce.com and Amazon (AWS), are serious entrants into the cloud analytics business while enterprise mega-vendors like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle re-invent their BI businesses for the cloud.
Forrester recently reported in its tech spending forecast 2016:
“The amount of money dedicated to software as a service (SaaS) investments will explode by 24% to $108 billion during the next 12 months, Forrester predicts, with applications for data analysis and managing customer relationships leading the way.”
There is no definitive “best of breed” solution yet as the entire enterprise software industry moves fast and furious to declare themselves, “cloud analytics industry leaders.” Here are keys to success as we evaluate the first wave cloud analytics solutions.
1. Follow the data
The business case for moving analytics processes and apps to the cloud include time to deliver, total cost of ownership, and the promise of increasing adoption and availability of analytics. To achieve these metrics, cloud-first vendors that provide IaaS and PaaS for existing business functions have a leg up. For example, vendors like Salesforce (SaaS, PaaS) and Amazon (Iaas) already store mountains of critical data waiting to be analyzed, so bolting analytical processes and nice visualization apps solutions, can reduce friction associated with transmitting or replicating large volumes of data.
2. It’s all about the Analytics Engines
Data visualization, dashboards, and self-service data exploration have transformed the BI industry over the last five years. The most successful cloud analytics platforms will need to provide the same level of quality BI practitioners have come to expect in modern BI tools. Also, cloud analytics success will hinge on a customer’s ability to create a new level of depth and sophistication for analytics, yet abstract that complexity from business consumers who are thirsting for information. The next generation of cloud analytics solutions needs to get business professionals and analysts closer to answering more complex business questions without Excel.
To do that will require data blending of on-premise, public, and private cloud data with algorithmic calculations, business rules, and predictive analytics.
3. There is a Battle for the business user
Cloud analytics is all about making business intelligence more accessible across the enterprise. SAP, for example, has started its positioning it’s new cloud analytics solutions to executives with their digital boardroom. Frontline workers represent the largest untapped potential for analytics, giving cloud-first business apps a distinct advantage to deliver embedded analytics.
4. Must have the Right info at the right time, to the right person
A picture is worth a million words, so the delivery vehicle for cloud analytics needs to be well-designed performant, and mobile first. Looking at the first wave of marketing coming from all vendors listed above, it is clear that user experience and design is an area of focus. However, visualization is just one delivery medium. Harnessing the resulting insights in the form of real-time mobile alerting, location analytics, and embedding these analytics into business processes and apps will be critical to proving incremental value to moving from legacy analytics tools to new shiny cloud solutions.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR CLOUD ANALYTICS IN 2016?