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Author's profile photo Kristin Kufeldt

Olympics and Cloud Analytics: What’s the Connection?

We are pleased to host Dan Vesset, GVPGroup Vice President of Analytics and Information Management at IDC, as our guest blogger today.

Olympic_latien_mottoAs the 2016 Rio Olympics remains fresh in my mind, I’m reminded of the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (faster, higher, stronger). Since their inception in 1896, the goal of the modern Olympics has been to provide an international forum where the world’s elite athletes could come together and compete. That is why the founder of modern Olympics Pierre de Coubertin said that “athletes need freedom of excess. That is why we gave them this motto … a motto for people who dare to try to break records.”

What does this have to do with business intelligence and analytics? There are lessons to be learned from the Olympic motto for those of us involved with business analytics. To be leaders and to compete at the highest level in today’s data-driven economy, organizations need to have a platform that enables top performance.

Four years ago, I and my colleagues at IDC wrote about this platform in the context of in-memory computing—a capability that was then sweeping the business analytics market and has now became a pervasively accepted part of business analytics technology. Four years on (let’s try to stay with the cadence of Olympic games) we see another technology—cloud computing—having a similar impact on the evolution of business analytics capabilities.

Growth in Cloud Analytics

Just a couple of years ago, spending on cloud business analytics represented a small fraction of this $40+ billion worldwide software market. However, today, we see rapid and unabated growth in the adoption of cloud business analytics solutions. IDC expects that over the next five years, the cloud business analytics portion of this worldwide software market will continue to grow five times faster than similar solutions deployed using any other methods.

Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

This trend is not only about lowering technology and related maintenance costs, although that is one of the key decision variables. Cloud business analytics solutions provide their users with other important benefits that help in promoting more pervasive use of BI and analytics technology throughout the organization. The move to the cloud includes

  • A better ability to address changing system scalability and performance requirements
  • Greater opportunity to monitor software usage patterns and encourage greater utilization of the software
  • An opportunity to take advantage of new, modern user interfaces (UIs)
  • Easier integration of cloud data sources
  • More efficient information sharing with external parties
  • Faster development cycles for new analytic applications

Importantly, cloud business analytics also help in breaking data and software functionality siloes that have persisted for years but are finally being addressed more pervasively, thanks to growth in the availability of cloud business analytics solutions. The barriers (technical and organizational) that exist in any sizeable organization that has multiple business analytics technology deployments can be more easily taken down when there is a centralized cloud solution.

Philip Kim is senior director of Big Data and Analytics at Under Armour, the sports clothing/accessories and Connected Fitness social network company. He said in my discussion with him earlier this year,

Our CIO’s strategy is cloud first. We need to have a very solid argument for why any particular application can’t be in the cloud. All of our mobile app data for 160 million athletes is in the cloud; most of our enterprise data is in the cloud. The cost of doing the same on-premises would be prohibitive.” Philip Kim, Under Armour

In Rio, whether you cheered for Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt or Yusra Mardini, there was something we all could learn from these leaders. I propose that the business analytics community adopt the Olympic motto—in fact, I believe it has already done so by embracing in-memory processing (Faster), shifting to cloud computing (Higher), and with those capabilities enabling better decisions that help achieve desired goals (Stronger).

The Olympics should be a reminder that reinforces the need for organizations to reevaluate their existing, mostly on-premises, business analytics solutions. What is available today is a cloud business analytics technology platform that provides organization with that needed freedom of excess to support decision-making that fosters innovation, reduces costs, and drives revenue or other desired outcomes.

Webcast, An IDC Perspective on the Future of Cloud Business Analytics

To learn more, join the upcoming webcast An IDC perspective on the future of cloud business analytics, 8th September at 7:00 a.m. PDT / 10:00 a.m. EDT / 3:00 p.m. BST.

This article originally appeared on The Guardian and has been republished with permission.

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