Blog | 7 steps to transform into a data driven organisation

Learn the benefits of cloud analytics

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 business embraces modern digital approaches you’re likely already using cloud-based solutions. This could be team collaboration tools, accounting software, or other internet-based applications. 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.  

What is cloud analytics? 

Cloud analytics are cloud-based solutions that allows organisations and individuals to perform data analysis to make better decisionsOften based on subscription pay-as-you-use model, it can be a flexible, scalable and cost-effective way to 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 often SaaS-based, cloud analytics can also be a hybrid solution. For example, cloud data warehouses – either as Cloud Platform or Infrastructure as a Service solutions, provide not only the 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 analytics makes doing crucial business functions easier 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)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Cloudera Hadoop 
  • Snowflake
  • SAS
  • Matillion
  • Tableau

These applications allow us to efficiently store and organise data, apply algorithms and other analytical tools. We're also able to create customised dashboards for data visualisation, and make it accessible for those who need it most. 


Why move to the cloud? 

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 
  • Reduced operating costs  no upfront hardware or infrastructure maintenance costs  

Ultimately the cloud makes analytical capabilities easily available to those who can get the most value from the insights, when and where they need them, to make better business decisions. 

Learn how ProCare used a cloud solution to enhance their member experience and present data in a way that is meaningful and easily accessible. 

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?
  • Business stability – are they likely to stick around for the long haul? 
  • Technical capabilities and processes – how easy is the solution to use and integrate?  
  • Administration and support – what is their SLA, and monitoring practices? Do they bill frequently so you have a good overview of what the solution is actually costing you? 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 which cloud analytics solution best meets your needs, and can 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.

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