A lot of us in the data world, whether we like to admit it or not, are still incredibly dependent on Excel, even with all the fancy new tools out there at our disposal. We get it. Excel is the unifying variable for a lot of cloud services; I can’t think of a service that doesn’t allow you to export information to Excel.
With the increasing reliance on cloud services for your customer relationship management systems, marketing automation, and even accounting, Excel isn’t the only option available to you anymore. Here are four ways that cloud-based business intelligence will enhance your data analytics.
Part of the reason cloud services have become so widely adopted in the last few years is because of flexibility they offer in scaling up or down to fit an organization’s needs. It’s far easier to sign up for software as a service (SaaS) than to install software in an onboarding process for employees, or worse, en masse with a large scale implementation.
Cloud BI also offers a far faster onboarding process. Generally the data source connectors are already built and simply require login credentials to start pulling data into the cloud BI solution. Along the same vein as scalability is collaboration with other individuals within the organization. Because cloud BI solutions update automatically, the charts and data that your entire team is working on will stay current and you won’t have to worry about each employee or department working in a silo.
Cloud BI provides the opportunity to access data from any device and from any location: 800,000 laptops are stolen each year from airports alone. That’s a huge headache for companies who need to replace the information that was housed on those laptops, as well as a large security concern. If you rely solely on data stored on your desktop in Excel files, you’re out of luck with a lost laptop.
Cloud services are sometimes perceived as less secure than their on-premise counterparts. However, “Most cloud vendors tend to have more strict security processes and follow security certificates that are more advanced than most companies have internally,” says Joao Tapadinhar, Gartner analyst.
In tandem with the migration to services within the cloud, SaaS companies are also more fervently focused on user-centric design. This is especially important in the data world, as data was largely held in the hands of a select few previously. The BI team of statisticians and analysts held the keys to all the data and everyone else within the organization had to go through them to get insights.
This leads to overwork on the part of the analysts, and lack of empowerment for the other employees. Cloud BI that focuses on guiding users through the data exploration process opens up this bottleneck. Software updates are also eradicated with cloud-based services, saving time and money on IT maintenance.
Data is certainly not going anywhere and if anything, you should be prepared for what the transparency will bring. Many companies report finding many more problems in their processes than they anticipated, challenging accepted assumptions.
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