The benefits of cloud are well known for organisations looking to modernise their existing, or build and source new technology solutions. Whether it's flexibility, scalability, security, utility pricing or reduced complexity in operating models, "Cloud First" is becoming a more common mantra in most organisations today. In this article, Qrious' Technology Director, Stephen Ponsford, shares how your organisation can benefit from cloud analytics.
As your businessembracesmodern digital approaches you’re likely already using cloud-based solutions. This could be teamcollaboration tools, accounting software, or otherinternet-basedapplications. You might even be migrating your entire technology stack to IaaS type solutions. And if you're looking to become more data centric, you should be looking to the cloud too – if you're not already.
Most organisations already have the data, it's the capability and cost of accessing and analysing it that remains one of their biggest challenges.
Enter cloud analytics.
Cloud analytics are cloud-based solutions that allows organisations and individuals to performdata analysis to make better decisions. Often based on a subscription pay-as-you-use model, it can be a flexible, scalable and cost-effective wayto manage your data and analytics requirements.Any analytical work that you currently do on your own servers or systems can be done in the cloud – often faster and with greater flexibility.
While oftenSaaS-based, cloud analytics can also bea hybrid solution.Forexample, clouddata warehouses– either as Cloud Platform or Infrastructure as a Service solutions,provide not onlythe ability to store large amounts of data, but they also integrate with analytics solutions to extract insights as required.
Like other cloud software solutions, cloud analyticsmakes doingcrucialbusinessfunctionseasier and faster.
To give you an example of cloud analytics solutions that are available, the applications we use at Qrious include:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
These applications allow us to efficiently store and organise data, apply algorithms and other analytical tools. We're also able tocreate customised dashboards for data visualisation, and make it accessible for those who need it most.
With digital transformation and increased competition, organisations need analytics that operate in real time to deliver fast insights. They also need to be able to share these insights and collaborate with others. Bringing analytics solutions to the cloud allows for easier sharing and collaboration as data and analytics tools can be accessed anywhere through internet-based applications.
The main benefits of cloud analytics include:
Cloud native architectures which significantly reduce the effort, cost and complexity of advanced analytics
Consolidation of your data–pull data from integrated databases or applications into a single source of truth
Improved efficiency of analysis and reporting–view reports from a single dashboard. These dashboards can be configured to show each person the data most relevant to them
Integration of multiple systems
Sharing and collaboration– through the cloud you can access data insights from anywhere, and easily share with others
Ensure accuracy and fidelity of data – data and formulas can be checked and preserved as required
What are the main considerations when choosing a solution?
Now that you’ve made the decision to move to the cloud there are some things you need to think about. With many solutions out there, you need to decide which one suits your needs best. This will be dependent on your business analytics needs.Technical and service requirements, security and data governance should also be considered alongside a review of current systems.
This will help you:
Agree on your cloud architecture and whether it will be a cloud native or hybrid solution
Agree on your preferred operating model for your cloud solution
Understand which systems it will need to integrate with for optimum value
Understand any privacy or security constraints on your data or business
Determine which cloud provider and solution best meets your requirements
Decide if you will engage a specialist or go it alone n your cloud analytics journey
As well as organisational specific considerations, you’ll want to take into account the reliability and capabilities of the service provider.This is things like:
Relationship - do you want a direct relationship with a cloud provider or will you use a partner?
Businessstability– are they likely to stick around for the long haul?
Technical capabilities and processes – how easyisthe solution to use and integrate?
Administration and support – whatistheir SLA, and monitoring practices? Do they bill frequently so you have a good overview of what the solution isactually costingyou? Do they have local support personnel to help you get up and running, or is this all based overseas?
Security practices – how do they ensure your data is safe, do they conduct regular audits and updates, and how do they protect your data from physical and digital threats?
Let’s chat about security
One of the biggest barriers that organisations state against migrating to the cloud is security.While security should certainly be a key consideration, cloud-based solutions are often as secure as on-site servers, if not more so. Security, therefore shouldn't necessarily be a barrier to migrating to the cloud.
Part of keeping data secure will lie within your organisation – making sure that there are policies around access to data, and that these are enforced. Check with the cloud provider whether they allow for role-based protections and access to ensure that those need access to the data can, and those that don’t can’t.
If in doubt, talk to an expert
As mentioned in our previous blog, partnering with an expert can help streamline this process. They’ll be able to offer suggestions and guidance on whichcloud analyticssolution best meets your needs, andcan provide ongoing support to help you get the most out of whichever solution you choose.
In our final instalment of the 7 steps to transform into a data driven organisation series we'll look at how being data driven feeds into customer centricity and improves your ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Read it here.
Missed the last step? Click here to check out Step 5: Why partnering with the expert is the smart choice.