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Cloud Analytics Adoption

Cloud analytics and platforms are becoming more cost effective and increasingly accessible to organisations looking for scalable fixed-costs implementations. Users are also adopting more mature cloud strategies, reads the State of the Cloud report by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), Informatica, and Deloitte.

“The key takeaways from our research is that cloud adoption is expanding quickly as companies find success with their first cloud analytics implementations and move to create more mature environments and drive broader adoption,” says EMA research director Lyndsay Wise.

The survey and report (Read PDF report) cover diverse industries and organisations across the world and reflect the state of play in late 2016.

Cloud analytics: growing importance

As technology advances, organisations looking at analytics can now choose between in-house and cloud-based solutions. How do they view the role of analytics and what factors play a role in their cloud choice?

Four of five respondents, 82.1 percent, see analytics as important. Most surveyed organisations acknowledge building their strategies around analytics due to the growing importance of data driven business approaches and data being visible. With 70.1 percent naming the cloud as a key component of their analytics strategy, the report concludes that a good number of organisations place the cloud first.

Enhancing business processes is the top driver for cloud analytics adoption, named by 23.5 percent of respondents. Consumer experience and better collaboration are other leading drivers at 22.2 and 19.1 percent. Competitive edge and R&D were the main driver for 14 percent of respondents. Only 5.5 percent cited self service and ease of use as primary drivers for cloud adoption.

Business drivers boosting cloud analytics

Most organisations want solutions that are scalable, yet can be implemented rapidly and meet both business and technical requirements. Enhancing business processes is thus becoming a key factor for cloud analytics adoption for a number of reasons. Organisations are looking to streamline business by transforming or enhancing operations through greater business and sales process visibility.

One in five organisations wants to improve customer experience through cloud analytics. They believe the cloud would give their customers more efficient support. It would also provide them with a complete 360 degree view of customers and suppliers. This would boost sales and cater to customer requirements better.

The third most important driver for cloud solutions adoption is better collaboration. Organisations want cloud analytics solutions to improve collaboration across teams, optimise supplier relationships, and improve coordination between kindred tasks like sales and marketing.

Top technical factors

A fifth of respondents, 19.5 percent, look to the cloud to cut costs. In the cloud, most traditional software licensing fees are eliminated and multiple customers share hardware cost. Just over 15 percent of respondents cite data security as their primary technical driver. Collaboration is a major factor for 14 percent. Other technical aspects affecting decisions to move to the cloud include availability and access, including faster software installation (13.8 percent), improved agility (13.1 percent), worldwide access to data and analytics (12.6 percent), and scalability (11.2 percent).

All in all, cloud analytics adoption is gaining pace, according to the report. “There has never been a faster-moving year in cloud analytics than 2016, and things show no sign of slowing,” says Informatica’s senior VP and general manager data integration and cloud integration, Ronen Schwartz.

Obstacles to cloud adoption

Security and compliance are the top hurdles before cloud adoption, cited by 40 percent of respondents. Tellingly, however, organisations with more mature cloud strategies report fewer security and compliance concerns. The report finds that 43.8 percent of businesses just embarking on the cloud cite security and compliance concerns, compared to only 38.4 percent of organisations running robust cloud adoption strategies and multiple cloud projects.

Integration and migration are top concerns for 34.6 percent of respondents, followed by skillset requirements at 16.3 percent, and lack of operational control at 9 percent.

Mobile access to cloud analytics

Globalisation and outsourcing of some functions require global access to data, encouraging widespread granting of mobile access to cloud analytics. Mobile access to cloud analytics is already offered by 83.1 percent of organisations covered by the report. Another 10 percent plan to offer it. Only 2 percent have no mobile solution plans.

Hybrid versus public in cloud analytics

As organisations’ analytics data expands and as big data becomes a central factor for storage, the ability to handle and process information flexibly becomes imperative. In-house solutions still prevail in analytics, but a growing number of organisations are moving analytics partially or entirely into the cloud. At present, more organisations prefer hybrid to public clouds for data analytics.

Thus, 48 percent of respondents say they perform real time analytics in-house, 28 percent use hybrid cloud solutions, and 24 percent use public cloud platforms. The most balanced segment appears to be big data analytics, with 39.9 percent of organisations using in-house solutions, 33.8 percent using hybrid clouds, and 26.3 percent relying on public clouds.

As particular implementations go, 49.6 percent of all billing solutions are still outside the cloud, while only 41 percent of respondents run in-house social media analytics solutions. Other business applications that remain predominantly in-house, compared to hybrid or public cloud solutions, include enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing automation, and customer support.

All in all, survey analysts Deloitte see business users increasingly using the cloud to crunch data in more innovative and advantageous ways. “Cloud analytics has matured quickly into an important and cost-effective tool for turning data into insights, while leveraging self-service capabilities that can unite technology, people and processes in productive new ways,” says Deloitte Consulting LLP principal Tracie Kambies.

Cloud analytics solutions are becoming prevalent for organisations worldwide, though in-house solutions still lead when compared individually to hybrid and public cloud adoption. Ever more organisations are looking to expand their cloud presence to support overall platforms and data management, instead of adopting CRM, ERP, or analytics applications. As cloud strategies mature, such overall cloud solutions will grow in numbers, changing the big data ecosystem and the ways we handle and access business metrics.

(Images and report provided by informatica)

By Kiril V. Kirilov

Kiril Kirilov

Kiril V. Kirilov is a content strategist and writer who is analyzing the intersection of business and IT for nearly two decades. Some of the topics he covers include SaaS, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, IT startup funding, autonomous vehicles and all things technology. He is also an author of a book about the future of AI and BIg Data in marketing.

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