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Cloud BI and analytics: Should the cloud be in your BI forecast?

In video Q&As, business intelligence analysts and IT vendors discuss the potential benefits and challenges of cloud BI and offer advice on using cloud computing technology as part of a BI strategy.

Cloud computing advocates say it has the potential to reduce both technology costs and complexity for business intelligence (BI) and analytics programs. At the Pacific Northwest BI Summit 2011, held in late July in Grants Pass, Ore., discussions about cloud computing among the BI experts and vendor executives in attendance focused largely on how user organizations are leveraging cloud technologies – and there seemed to be no single answer.

Some companies are using Software as a Service (SaaS) BI and analytics technologies, which analysts say can help them get up and running faster with limited IT support. Some are putting data warehouses in the cloud, using cloud services to support so-called analytic sandboxes for their data analysts, or experimenting with Hadoop and MapReduce projects. And some companies remain warily on the sidelines, held back by fears of security, hidden costs or complexity. Summit participants agreed that cloud and SaaS BI vendors are, in the words of one attendee, “sort of bouncing along – not growing fast, but not going out of business.”

In this series of video Q&As, BI and IT professionals weighing possible cloud BI investments will get an expert overview of how other organizations are using cloud-based technologies as part of their BI and analytics programs, along with insight on cloud BI trends and advice on getting started and the potential challenges to be aware of.

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