Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly shifting their business intelligence (BI) needs to the cloud, concludes analyst company Techaisle in a new study. The company says the objective of its research is to better understand the current and planned usage of BI, as well as identify the benefits and feature set expected by users. The actual report is available for purchase in the form of individual country reports, though Techaisle has released some of its findings in a press release published here.
For example, 22 percent of SMBs currently use BI while another 27 percent are planning to do so next year. Mobile BI is still in its infancy, however, with only 18 percent of SMBs already using BI planning to adopt it this year. What proved surprising is the number of SMBs expected to trash their spreadsheets in favor of cloud-based BI tools.
According to Techaisle:
Cloud business intelligence usage is expected to jump in the next one year as 47 percent of users plan to shift to cloud from spreadsheets, a jump of 59 percent from 2011. Supporting multiple locations and telecommuting employees along with low initial cost are prime drivers for using cloud business intelligence.
Below are some interesting nuggets of information that I was able to glean:
The attraction of cloud-based BI is easy to understand, since it allows SMBs to use tools that were likely to be out of their reach in terms of cost to acquire and set up. Moreover, cloud-based BI comes with inherent support for teleworkers, as opposed to traditional BI tools that may require additional licenses or technical configuration to access from outside the company.
One downside of a purely cloud BI solution may be a potential reduction in customization compared to more mature - and non-cloud-based - solutions. More importantly, cloud BI is comparatively more susceptible to potential security exploits, given the always-connected nature of the Internet. And unlike cloud storage, the raw data must be accessible and hence cannot be completely encrypted with an encryption key that is stored offline.