Cloud BI vs. SaaS
Continuing with our series on frequently asked questions by small and medium-sized businesses about business intelligence, today I’ll address cloud BI and SaaS BI. They’re not actually the same thing, though some of their characteristics overlap.
3) Should we choose an on-premise BI solution or one hosted in the cloud?
This can be an important distinction when choosing your shortlist of vendors; however more and more are offering both on-premise and cloud deployment models, including arcplan. If you’re unsure, shortlisting vendors that offer both is a good plan. That way, you can choose the deployment model after deciding that the product’s features match your needs.
Choosing whether or not to deploy BI in the cloud brings up some special considerations – how concerned about data security you are, where your data will be stored, and whether you have the resources in-house to manage the hardware necessary for your BI deployment.
If data security is a major concern, there are ways to store your corporate data securely behind a firewall and broadcast queries to your cloud BI system. As we often say at arcplan, you don’t necessarily have to move your data to the cloud in order for your BI to be there. That may seem confusing, so let me clarify…
In recent weeks, I came across a handful of articles and research reports about the public’s perception of cloud computing and how many Americans don’t seem to understand the concept, yet already use and depend on the cloud despite this lack of understanding. The good news is that business leaders generally have a better understanding of what the cloud has to offer, including the untapped potential of cloud computing to create an integrated picture of business content. Organizations are starting to develop cloud computing strategies to provide context to business operations.
Despite the hype around cloud computing and cloud BI, the real adoption of cloud BI systems is relatively low, according to Howard Dresner’s 2012 Wisdom of Crowds Cloud BI Market Study and a Gartner report earlier this year on the major drivers of BI revenue. The delay in adoption isn’t because business managers fail to see the value of the cloud; simply put, the barriers to cloud BI adoption are very practical ones – data integration and security being the most frequently cited. arcplan has addressed these concerns previously in our webinar, A Roadmap for BI Cloud Computing, but in this post, I’ll explore how businesses are proactively addressing cloud BI data integration concerns.
Business leaders who have implemented cloud BI give positive feedback, naming process efficiency, effectiveness, and gaining a competitive advantage as some of the benefits. But what takes cloud BI to the next level is uniting data from multiple data sources within their organization and leveraging external data resources to get comparable benchmarks. This last piece is only possible in a cloud environment.
Note that the recording will stream as a WMV file.
In this webinar, we discuss:
- The challenges of cloud-based BI
- Cloud economics
- Services-oriented architecture (SOA) as a way to securely implement enterprise-scale cloud BI
- Cloud BI success stories, including Xambrosius, GPX Software’s small business planning solution built with arcplan technology
- And much more
Thanks to everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t, leave us a comment if you’d like to discuss anything you see in the recording.
Edit 6/21/12: Click here to access this webinar recording.
Whether you’re looking to capitalize on next-generation BI capabilities with a cost-effective entry point, you’re a decision maker who wants a glimpse at what cloud BI really entails, or you’re an arcplan partner (or potential partner) and want to see a cloud BI solution in action, join us on June 19th at 2pm EDT for a free webinar: A Look at Real World Cloud BI Solutions.
Can’t make it? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.
We’ll cut through the marketing hype and clear up the confusion companies have when it comes to cloud BI. Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- The reasons why companies are making the move to the cloud
- How to manage the move in phases
- How to mitigate security concerns, particularly when it comes to keeping your sensitive data secure
- Various cloud delivery models – public, private and hybrid
- Ways to overcome cloud’s inherent challenges when it comes to BI
Our partner, GPX software, will present what cloud architecture looks like in the real world and how they created Xambrosius, their cloud business planning solution built on arcplan technology. It gives users the ability to plug in their own data and generate financial reports (income statements, balance sheets, etc.) and dashboards, as well as perform planning functions like employee costing with cloud data streams from Salary.com.
Hope to see you on the 19th! Register here >>
In Part I, I talked about a couple of reasons why cloud BI hasn’t gone mainstream yet – the inherent complexity of BI systems and the amount of data produced daily. Then I presented a secure way for data to remain in place but your BI to move into the cloud. (web services-based SOA broadcast services, essentially querying data that exists behind your corporate firewall from the cloud). Today let’s weigh the risks vs. rewards of moving your BI to the cloud.
Choosing a Cloud BI Vendor
Do you stick with your familiar BI software as it adapts to a SaaS model or go with a newcomer offering true SaaS? Be sure to carefully consider your business requirements and go with a vendor that meets them. You may risk going with a smaller vendor, but you are more likely to get the BI deployment you want.
Certainly evaluate the long-term cost of ownership – cloud BI may be more affordable at the outset and allow you to avoid the capital expenditure approval process, but will it cost more in the end? The reward of a quick implementation and “easy out” may be worth the risk of higher long-term cost and may lead to additional benefits, like allowing you to scale your BI to more users throughout the organization faster.
Sticking with an in-house BI deployment results in your IT team spending time to set up, tweak, maintain, and debug servers – time that could be better spent elsewhere…