If data is the buzzword of the 21st century, business intelligence (as the platform that supports the data revolution) is a close second. Businesses often gather data in unusable forms - it simply sits in IT departments, untouched. However, for companies wanting to grow and improve, having genuine access to data is essential. Business intelligence (BI) gives organisations that access, providing decision makers with the information necessary to increase efficiency, find new markets, and generally improve performance.
Cloud-based BI is the next step in the BI transformation. With 2018 adoption levels twice that of 2016 levels, Dresner reports, it's essential that business owners of all sizes understand and start utilising cloud-based BI, or risk getting left behind.
What exactly is cloud-based BI?
Just like other cloud-based platforms, cloud BI is hosted on the internet, as opposed to a business installing it individually on different devices. Most BI platforms will have some or all of the following features:
- Advanced data analytics functions, allowing you to identify trends, evaluate sales and track demand, pinpoint new markets or other opportunities for growth, and locate areas for improved efficiency.
- Query and reporting, including ad-hoc query functions.
- Dashboards for KPI tracking.
- Data visualisation features so you can easily interpret the information you've collected.
What are the advantages of hosting BI on the cloud?
Before BI platforms were hosted on the cloud, companies would have to download them directly onto a device. They'd normally just license them onto a few devices, meaning only a small number of people would have access to the company's data. If other people needed information, it would take time to get it to them, creating delays in reporting - the data would no longer be "real-time."
Businesses can make more informed decisions using real-time information gleaned from cloud-based BI.
However when hosting BI on the cloud, anyone with an internet connection (and the required permissions) can access the information as soon as it become available. This means businesses can make more informed decisions using information that is highly up-to-date, instead of a few weeks or even months old.
Another key advantage of cloud-based BI is cost. It's much cheaper to host information on the internet than to download software onto each device. This means smaller businesses now have the opportunity to access a huge range of data that was previously only available to large enterprises that could afford the licensing fees. Cloud-based BI, therefore, gives SMEs a better chance of competing. But only if they choose to adopt cloud-based BI - those that don't may be left behind, unable to access the data that their competitors can.
But how safe is it to store all this data on the internet?
Much safer than you might think. Cloud providers have a huge range of security protocols in place to ensure your information remains safe. From end-to-end encryption to two-factor authentication and permissions restrictions, your information is often more secure in the cloud than it is in on-site servers, which can be costly to both maintain and keep secure.
How can BDO help me move to the cloud?
BDO works closely with FUTRLI to provide you with a cloud-based business intelligence platform that will give you huge insight into your organisation. From KPI tracking to a range of reporting and forecasting functions, FUTRLI provides you with the information you need to grow.
Moving to the cloud comes as a central feature of our BDODrive service. Bringing together our full range of business advisory services, we'll find out exactly where your organisation is at today, in order to help it grow tomorrow. We do this by using data - and the cloud is a key part of this.
Put simply, you can't improve your business without data. And cloud-based business intelligence has made this easier than ever. For more information, contact BDO today.