How will Cloud Computing affect Business Intelligence?
Cloud computing is the latest phrase being commonly used to describe the future of IT and data storage. But what are the advantages and challenges of cloud computing and how will it affect business intelligence reporting?
- The cost of data storage has fallen significantly in recent years
- Storing data in the cloud removes the need for backup and disaster recovery
- No direct responsibility for buying, maintaining and upgrading hardware
- 24x7x365 availability of data
- Near infinite amount of storage available
- Additional storage can be added in near real-time
Many companies see moving all of their data and applications to the cloud as a logical step. However, this is not always achievable for a variety of reasons.
For example some applications cannot be moved and databases cannot be physically taken off-site for security reasons, which leads to a complex mix of data stored on premise and in the cloud.
With data held in different places this makes it difficult to produce comprehensive reports.
BI on premise or in the cloud?
Accessing data with a complex deployment model means data in the cloud has to be accessed via an API, so the database is not receiving direct data requests as this could impact its performance.
Several applications, such as Salesforce and Sage200 online, have an API to help users access their data for reporting, but many do not, forcing them to extract data once a day in Excel or other spreadsheet formats.
Panintelligence have developed a Salesforce plugin, in partnership with Progress, which allows Salesforce users to analyse and report on their data held in the cloud.