Cloud computing has the potential to radically alter the way organizations buy and use technology – especially in this era of analytics, when both business and IT leaders are struggling with how to harvest and get value from large volumes of data.
Charles Green, an analyst at Forrester Research, has written about this issue, stating in his blog: “Organizations face major challenges ramping up their information management capabilities — in particular due to the combination of a brutal proliferation of new or enhanced technologies, emerging data sources, and difficulty in finding skilled people with the appropriate experience.”
But how can technology kill technology?
Let me explain…
Back to Basics
The cloud is a delivery model of providing technology as a service; similar to logging into Gmail to send and receive email. Users don’t have to worry about buying the hardware and software to build and maintain an email system.
This presents something potentially revolutionary for organizations trying to solve the perennial issue of how to get business intelligence into the hands of decision-makers – removing technology from the equation completely.
It’s a different story in most organizations today – CFOs are paying large sums of money to buy, build and maintain on-premise IT reporting systems. And with Gartner estimating that half of all IT projects fail to meet expectations, that is a significant amount spent to achieve minimal insight.
The problem organizations are facing today is the technology: The lack of seamless integration between technology parts means that data is unable to traverse through reporting systems from where it is stored, used and managed in its final destination (such as a dashboard or report accessed by a finance or procurement manager).
By converting to a cloud technology model, organizations still have access to all of the features and benefits of technology, without the headache of maintaining costly legacy infrastructure and instead, being able to embrace free-flowing analytics.
In practical terms, users of cloud data platforms achieve five main benefits:
- Single source of truth - Developing a single view of your organization's data is now possible because the technology in the cloud is the latest innovation delivered as a service so you no longer need to buy or maintain IT infrastructure. You merely subscribe to it.
- Integration - You no longer have to buy or build multiple on premise reporting systems when just one integrated data analytics platform in the cloud will suffice. The days of maintaining separate spend analytics systems, contract management systems and supplier performance management systems are over, so now wasting money is a business choice, rather than a by-product of doing business.
- Expansion - In the cloud, worrying about how to quickly extend reporting capabilities without significant and expensive reporting bolt-ons to on-premise IT systems are the past because the only investment you need to make moving forward is on improving the quality and usage of your data (more on this in my next blog post, “Why data is the new platform”).
- Investment Efficiencies - Purchasing traditional technology and related support services such as system integrators can now be re-allocated to investing in building data analytics capabilities – a priority for every organization.
- Strategic Data Use - CIOs, in partnership with business leaders, can now focus on strategic data-driven initiatives by eliminating the requirement of managing legacy IT infrastructure (please read a previous article, “Why CIOs are Key to Unlocking the Value of Data Integration in the Cloud.”)
The cloud promises to turn failed business intelligence projects into success because the technology obstacles of the past are no longer factors in getting data and consumer-friendly analytical tools directly into the hands of decision-makers.
Ironically, cloud analytics is destined to stop organizations from buying technology because the business value of technology is being delivered as a subscription service.