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Achieving Optimised Cloud-Based Analytics In 3 Easy Steps


Cloud adoption is becoming increasingly widespread in today’s business landscape. Once common objections and concerns around moving to the cloud, such as security, continue to wane. Organisations are identifying and prioritising their IT and business initiatives that might benefit the most from a cloud deployment, and business intelligence and analytics are among those key initiatives. Over the next few years, it is predicted that cloud will be the preferred delivery mechanism for analytics. In a joint Deloitte, EMA, and Informatica State of Cloud Analytics Report survey, 70.1% of the respondents said cloud is already an essential part of their analytics strategy.

Despite this upward trend, the challenges of deploying and managing an enterprise-scale cloud analytics can prove to be a stumbling block for some organisations. By selecting the right cloud-management platform, businesses can dramatically reduce setup and configuration times from days or weeks down to minutes. It can also reduce time to value and allow IT to focus on core tasks that provide more value.

The inherent value of running analytics in the cloud can be maximised by adopting a few general guidelines and adapting them to fit individual business needs. Platform management tools should be used to their full advantage to reduce ongoing costs, once cloud-based analytics are in place. For example, centralised management can help avoid the inefficiencies that would be associated with operating and maintaining multiple redundant tools. In practice, optimising cloud platforms for cost-efficient analytics involves three steps:

1. Provide Specialised Mechanisms For IT

Putting users at the centre of any new process initiative will always be beneficial. While it’s important to equip business users with the ability to meet their own requirements, it’s also necessary to recognise that more technical users have separate needs that may be more complex. Therefore, best practices should include providing mechanisms for IT and other technical users to perform advanced tasks as efficiently as possible.

For example, visual platform tools should be used to empower administrators to streamline processes such as creating, deploying, and managing cloud environments. In addition, those users should have the flexibility to tailor the environment further using scripts, code, APIs, and SDKs. In this way, the experience can be highly personalised. In particular, those measures should be usable at the platform level as well as at the cloud-environment level.

2. Automate Migration To The Cloud

Complexity and cost can prove to be barriers to the cloud for many organisations that currently operate on-premises analytics infrastructures. This can mean that moving those systems to the cloud can be slow and laborious, resulting in a delayed migration. Ideally, a centralised cloud platform should be able to copy an existing environment to a single backup file and then seamlessly import and deploy a duplicate environment to the cloud – all as a single operation. That level of automation relieves an organisation from the need to manually move objects one by one or to stand up additional instances for the purposes of migration. Choosing a cloud-management platform that provides such functionality can save substantial staff time and company money.

3. Empower Business Users

Today’s organisations place an especially high value on speed and the ability for business users to put new processes or capabilities in place without involving IT. This is where technology can be utilised to address skills that users may not have through ‘self-service’. These mechanisms can eliminate roadblocks and boost productivity by allowing non-technical users to create and share dashboards and reports without having to write code or receive help from IT. That empowerment can accelerate the pace of business innovation and improve the user experience, while also encouraging greater collaboration among users. At the same time, the cost of turning data into actionable results is reduced.

Organisations seeking to take full advantage of self-service IT in their cloud-based analytics should investigate the ability of their cloud-management platform to provide end-to-end business intelligence functionality. In addition, the ability of those platforms to automate distribution of personalised reports, documents, and dashboards throughout the enterprise should be placed at a premium, as this works to break down silos of information across the organisation. Making those resources available to everyone who needs them increases the value of the information.

The flexibility, agility, ease of use, and incomparable cost savings of the cloud offers benefits that organisations cannot afford to ignore. Companies opting for this path are better prepared, not only for growth and international expansion, but also for the modern demands of employees, which includes the ability to work remotely and access systems from any location. As the volume of data in the cloud continues to grow, cloud-based analytics is the next logical step in terms of maximising investment and discovering new insights. Because of this trend, it’s critical to have an analytics solution that delivers scalability and speed, agility and governance, and convenience and security.

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Hugh Owen is the Senior Vice President in charge of Product Marketing for MicroStrategy. A 17 year industry veteran, he is responsible for the marketing of MicroStrategy’s Enterprise Software offerings for Analytics, Data Discovery, Big Data, Mobile, and Cloud. He has been with MicroStrategy since 2000 in various roles. Mr Owen received a Bsc (Hons) degree in Business from The University of Bath, England.