The Cloud And Business Intelligence: A Substantive Trend for Businesses
Why is cloud computing a hot topic? Because it offers unprecedented flexibility in the deployment of applications, but also a great savings potential for the company that retains this mode.
BI in the cloud or Cloud BI
With the cloud computing principle, companies pay for their actual consumption, whether it’s hardware, software, bandwidth, or any other computing resource. It’s easy to adjust the capabilities to your real needs, and this translates immediately into substantial savings.
Cloud computing, or cloud computing, is a generic term that covers three different ways of deploying software:
- Software as a service (SaaS). In this case, it’s about targeting application software. Customers pay a periodic fee (usually monthly) to access application software from a solution provider. Access is via a web browser. Subscribers to this service and end users are thus spared the problems related to hardware configuration, software installation, system configuration or updates. Salesforce.com or Emailvision are examples of SaaS products.
- The platform as a service (PaaS). PaaS subscribers pay for everything they need to build, maintain and run their own applications; everything is hosted by the provider and accessible via a web browser. Makara is an example of PaaS product.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS solutions enable organizations to “rent” access to hardware by deploying applications they develop or purchase on remote servers. The subscriber to this type of service supports some limited aspects of server management. Amazon Web Services provides a form of IaaS: access to shared servers on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The first two approaches – SaaS and PaaS – are better suited to business intelligence, BI. In a SaaS model, for example, companies could subscribe to an analytics application that provides access to all users from a browser. The same hardware infrastructure and the same underlying platform are used by all subscribers and end users. Subscribers have nothing to install, configure or maintain outside the terminals on which the browsers are installed.
In the PaaS model, the subscriber develops, implements and exploits all specific applications using hosted development and execution resources; access to these applications is via a web browser. Standardized Business Intelligence architectures will be easy to integrate via web services. As such, they are ideally suited to the PaaS model.
The role of cloud computing.
In a recent TDWI study, 31 percent of respondents said that cloud deployments were an optimal way to work with the relatively tight IT budgets of 2010.
Businesses learn to use the BI Cloud creatively to achieve business goals and lower costs. Here are some reasons that explain this evolution:
– Fast and interactive business intelligence solutions,
– Reduced costs during the development cycle thanks to the ability to pay for shared space fractions on dedicated servers,
– Abolition of capacity planning, with the inherent risks of overcapacity or under capacity. Companies can thus simply pay the processing capacity actually used by their applications, according to the use that is made of them,
– Scalable processing capacity to cope with occasional high loads, for example for quarterly or fiscal year-end reviews,
– Quick and efficient way to run software tests or tests and deploy short-term sandboxes for exceptional analytical needs.
Businesses seeking cloud-based decision-making should consider the following:
- User Interfaces and Web-Based Access Methods,
- A widely accessible environment that can be accessed anywhere via a wide variety of services, preferably with Web-based programming interfaces (APIs).
- Pay-as-you-go, because this is the best way to get the maximum economic benefit from cloud computing,
- A secure environment – on the network, identity management and layers of identification, 5. Flexibility: ease of adjustment of material capacities to be able to evolve according to needs, 6. Full API support consistent with Web standards, 7. SaaS providers – or those who will choose this route in the near future – should develop multi-tenant architecture features.  TDWI Best Practice Report: The Budget Decision Making: Strategies for Doing More With Less, by Wayne W. Eckerson, July 2010