The volume of structured data, contained in transaction systems generated by organizations, is at an all time high and will continue to increase. This structured data, however, now needs to be combined with the unstructured data that represents the majority of corporate data and the new social network data. More importantly, knowledge workers and decision makers want this data accessible and made available for analysis. Additionally, much of the unstructured data is already is in the hands of the departmental knowledge workers, but they lack the tools to use it.
Business Intelligence Platform selection has traditionally required the approval of two groups at once, Information Technology (IT) and the departmental knowledge workers, which has always made purchasing and implementing a business intelligence (BI) platform a tricky thing to do. Anyone reading this can probably relate to the tension you've observed between your IT department and departmental end-users. Trying to get consensus and agreement on a new platform, typically dead in the middle, takes time and normally leads to some sort of compromise. But the new economic conditions are forcing IT and knowledge workers to look at different approaches for BI.
The new economic realities are driving CIO's to look at lower cost solutions that provide the additional analytical capabilities demanded by knowledge workers. See my last post for additional information. But the knowledge workers can no longer wait and their increasing frustration appears to be fueling a growing bifurcation with central IT over the nature and future of BI. Specifically, IT led/managed BI versus departmental led/managed BI. Pressured by the new economic realities, the need to cut costs, the need for more information and analytics, and the need to quickly demonstrate business value is pushing the knowledge workers to look past central IT to address their unmet needs. The perceived benefits of improved analysis and decision making are so compelling that the knowledge workers are making the choice towards SaaS/Cloud, despite the risk of creating new fragmented silos of applications and tools.
What makes SaaS/Cloud so compelling?
SaaS/Cloud BI's key selling points, the ones that are getting the knowledge workers to open their wallets include: (a) the ability to get a BI solution with an almost total lack of IT involvement; (b) little or no upfront cap-ex expenditures for the solution; and (c) op-ex based subscription model that allows you to pay-as-you-go (subscription fee per month instead of a large annual license fee).
Is the future of BI in the Cloud? I'd like to hear your comments.
I would like to remind our readers that this blog is not just about ASR, nor is it about any specific vendor , infrastructure or solution - it's a forum for "us" to express thoughts and ideas about the nature and state of business intelligence (BI). I say "us" because a blog is only a one-sided conversation unless there is input from you. Keep the comments coming and make this a repository for industry awareness and better practices. Also, feel free to ask questions or let me know if there are special topics that are interest to the ASR community, and we will try to find the answers for you.