Cloud-based analytics is on par with on-premise BI tools, according to 46 percent of organizations surveyed by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). Perhaps even more telling, 38 percent say cloud-based BI is better when it comes to functionality, time to implementation, and ease of adoption.
That’s not too far off from Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms, which is available as a free download, thanks to Birst. Gartner’s survey was revealed at the beginning of last year, and it showed that 45 percent planned to put mission-critical BI in the cloud. Gartner had predicted that 2014 could be “a tipping point for cloud adoption as data gravity shifts to the cloud.”
The EMA survey lends some support to that theory. Of the 257 IT pros and business stakeholders queried by EMA, 56 percent characterized their cloud-based analytics as adopted and either essential or important to the organization. And more than 40 percent said they had more than five projects associated with their cloud-based analytics strategies.
Gartner noted last year that most BI vendors offered a cloud strategy, though the report cautioned, “many leaders of BI and analytic initiatives do not have a strategy for how to combine and integrate cloud services.”
BI and analytics is a crowded field —BI Software Insight listed 55 vendors in its July Ultimate List of Business Intelligence Vendors, though it did not break that out by cloud providers. Dresner Advisory Services conducted a cloud BI market study that ranked 24 vendors, although I couldn’t find an actual list of said vendors.
More companies are embracing the cloud, but these implementations are not hazard-free. While organizations often find that the cloud makes it easier to add external data, cloud-based BI can encounter problems when dealing with data from legacy systems. Others have encountered problems with data bottlenecks and the need for third-party integration.
If you’re among those interested in cloud BI and analytics, check out this TDWI Checklist Report, Demystifying Cloud BI: Six Issues to Consider (registration required to view, but it’s a free download). Although it doesn’t break out vendors by cloud versus on-premise, Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms (linked above) is a good resource for understanding capabilities. It also indicates which vendors in the quadrant offer cloud-based options and even includes a short section on cloud-only BI vendors 1010data and Chartio.
These reports were written before IBM introduced Watson Analytics, which generated a lot of interest in the industry, in part because of its namesake and natural language capabilities. Gigaom took it for a test drive this month, and found it similar to Tableau Public, Google Fusion and DataHero.
Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.