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Author's profile photo Neil McGovern

Why Cloud-Based Analytics Are Essential for Tomorrow’s Business

Neil McGovern, Senior Director, Data Warehousing Marketing

Twitter: @neilmcgovern

As cloud adoption spreads, the demand for cloud-based analytics is following suit. But the cloud is still viewed with suspicion by some IT leaders. Here, we look at some of the findings of our recent white paper, “Moving to the Cloud”, to see what your organization stands to gain.

In a recent EMA study, 56% of businesses cited cloud-based analytical strategies as “essential” or “important” to their corporate strategies. However, not everyone is convinced. A number of perceived barriers are still preventing some business leaders from taking their crucial first steps into the cloud.

The CIO: An Endangered Species?

Some chief information officers (CIOs) fear that the cloud spells doom – or, less dramatically, marginalization – for their departments. However, rather than anticipating their imminent demise, many now believe that the CIO role is simply evolving. IT leaders must rethink their priorities in line with changing business requirements.

In 1990, IT’s role was to create applications. In 2015, it is to provision applications and manage the immense complexity of the infrastructure necessary for those applications. Instead of being hardware jockeys, IT leaders must now focus on being data scientists.

Keeping Your Data Safe

Another barrier to cloud adoption is a perceived risk in keeping data off-premise and entrusting it to a third party. However, storing data in an on-premise data center is no longer any safer than transitioning your data warehouse into the cloud.

Target’s credit card breach in 2013 and Sony’s hacked e-mail fiasco earlier this year demonstrate the difficulty of keeping one’s own data secure. Although security is still one of the most frequently cited objections to cloud deployment, the risks associated with the cloud are no greater than those associated with operating on-premise. They are merely different.

Safety in Numbers

For vendors like SAP that are supplying cloud-based services to thousands of businesses, security is even more critical than it would be for an individual organization. A successful attack on one would be an attack on the peace of mind of all.

Hackers target neglected and outdated systems. Large companies typically have thousands of these in place, and at least one of them is likely to lack the latest security patch. In the cloud, security updates are applied universally and immediately. Simply put, there are fewer doors for intruders to enter, and those doors are better guarded.

Faster, More Affordable Solutions

More and more unstructured data is flooding into organizations. The good news is that this data has more value than previously assumed. The bad news is that making sense of the data can be an onerous task with a prohibitive price tag.

Previously, line-of-business leaders anxious for actionable business intelligence traditionally had two options. Firstly, they could wait for IT to provide an internally-built solution, taking months or even years, depending on other priorities assigned to IT. Secondly, they could cobble together a Frankenstein solution of Excel spreadsheets and other applications – frequently proving to be an error-prone and unreliable fix.

In contrast, a cloud-based solution is instantaneous, high quality, and affordable. So, business leaders get the information they need when they need it, without breaking the budget.

Bolder Experimentation

By taking a cloud-based approach to data analytics, companies also provide their staff with the opportunity to try out new ideas and experiment in cost-effective way. When relying on on-premise solutions for analysis, it is difficult to test hypotheses, due to the high overhead associated with building a new report or analyzing a new data set.

However, the cloud offers access to instant provisioning and the analytical power of solutions like the SAP HANA platform. So, businesses can more easily test and prototype, driving innovation and enabling performance improvements.

Reaping the Benefits

In the cloud, new solutions can be delivered faster than ever before to meet the needs of your organization more precisely. Improving agility, reducing costs, and taking advantage of instantaneous provisioning remain leading drivers of cloud adoption. But expect data security – once considered a risk factor – to increasingly inspire organizations to look beyond their own four walls.

To learn more, read the “Moving to the Cloud” white paper or take a look at specific use cases to see how SAP is helping customers reap the benefits of cloud-based analytics.

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      Author's profile photo John Leggio
      John Leggio

      Check out the new SAP Cloud for Analytics SCN space!