Is a Cloud Business Intelligence Service a no-brainer at 40% of in-house cost?

We talk about big dinosaurs of reporting that are facing extinction. What is good to know is the evolution of Business Intelligence, which has been with us since the Industrial revolution, is moving to becoming a “business current state” service with the low cost cloud very seamless to deploy in and simple to use and understand.

Managers will never stop setting and managing targets. What also never stops is the need to do it faster to meet market demands. More than ever traditional tools are at best now problematic. Dynamic predictive planning tools linked to real business data are vital.

Even so, with Business Intelligence being so much cheaper to deploy as almost a commodity the reality is to now it has remained in the hands of the elite.  But not for long!

What has changed, even for small to medium business, is most have some sort of embedded real time visibility of business transactions in their core system that allow some focus on process stages near real-time.

This is driven by the competitive need for the ability to be market responsive and change plans quickly and collaborate much faster on operational improvements.

Hence being able to see outcomes and correct the tactics with an “always current” end-to-end view across each process is high priority in most multi-tenanted business.

Decision makers are also aware the tools exist to see who and what is delivering best value to customers, and right down to bottom line impact and what competitors are be doing in the same space.

Traditional finance reporting method however still prevails with 82% of organizations in matured economies lacking visibility on line of business profitability.  This is even lower in Asia where traditional ways are harder to change.

The 18% who do have their business information integrated, have long since learned that deep dive analysis lets them see how to improve margins using very direct, fine focus measurement driving continuous improvement of process performance.

Faster and more reliable business information has always been the vital competitive ingredient. Business Intelligence systems that join all the data to replace draconian qualifying processes that rely on finance.

One good example is big retailers and chains who hook directly into their cash register or point of sale source. These big guys with big volumes and many outlets have been doing this well for decades, allowing them to focus on both detail and scale. It also has wide reach to also manage supplier performance.

Planning managers using data mining and analytics tools also handle much wider segmentation and understand more on how to influence their overall market and service footprints. With big data able to be mined and interpreted they get dual performance perspectives quickly at both helicopter and ground level operational detail.

None of this is new; it’s just that it’s much easier to do now for any business. Pervasive big data web technology to link business intelligence together with performance management processes, is no longer a big budget item.

The emerging proliferation of cloud services is making it even cheaper and easier to deploy. SME’s and large enterprises alike are now adopting Business Intelligence and planning tools at a rapid pace due to lower barriers to entry like new licensing options (e.g. pay-per-use) and reduced cost of IT infrastructure, thanks to public cloud services.

These organizations can take that leap of faith and replace their constrained highly inefficient conventional reporting processes (that rely on high cost finance dependent skills that have been dedicated to preparing, then qualify these summary business reports).

Transcending traditional thinking for everyone too is being able to get timely analysis and reports directly from in-house transaction data. With cost effective tools in reach for all business, the elite 18% of businesses no longer have a competitive advantage.

In the race to the cloud market the software industry is using innovative disruptive tactics to drive rapid adoption of new cheaper to deploy Business Intelligence and planning tools. This means everyone can get succinct planning systems able to be integrated with detailed current coal-face level performance data.

What’s becoming increasingly evident are cost models of “business current state” services like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Using Hybrid & public cloud services is so fast to deploy business tools, with previous road blocking concerns around security and data sovereignty having been addressed.

The race to market is now on for the very cost effective next generation cloud-based solutions and products.

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