Cloud Computing Outlook

The Future of BI lies in Integration

By Brad Peters, Co-Founder & CEO, Birst Inc.

Brad Peters, Co-Founder & CEO, Birst Inc.

Cloud technology has completely revolutionized the way we do business, and the broad scale adoption of the cloud for conducting business has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for businesses of all sizes. From a Business Intelligence (BI) perspective, the cloud has made the ability to gather and analyze insightful, actionable data accessible to a much wider range of businesses. What once required massive, expensive software suites can now be achieved with a cloud-based solution with an affordable, scalable subscription model. Whereas before, only the Fortune 1000 could afford robust BI software and the army of administrators required to run and maintain it now, even SMBs and nimble startups can take advantage of the same (or better) technology as the big guys. Software no longer becomes obsolete the moment it is installed; in the cloud, real-time automatic updates extend the business value and ROI for cloud applications.

Currently, most businesses operate in silos financial data in one system, production data in another. There are separate tools for sales and CRM, ERP. For the most part, this siloed approach is now the status quo. Eliminating these silos by integrating data across these systems to close information gaps can dramatically ratcheting up the business value of that data. Through integration and technology stacking, we can draw correlations and make connections between once disparate data points to quickly arrive at relevant, actionable insight derived from current (rather than historical) data. Where there were once teams of people processing data for each silo and handing it over to someone who was responsible for analyzing it all and making decisions, technology now allows us to streamline that process and deliver faster, more accurate results.

Keeping Up with the Pace of Innovation

The cloud evolution has alleviated these hurdles in many ways, giving entrepreneurs access to the most advanced, agile and enterprise-grade tools and data resources they need to compete with much larger companies, and do so affordably, with scalable systems that grow as the business grows. At the same time, because they are often running much leaner operations, entrepreneurs need tools that reduce the complexity in all aspects of modern business. The availability of modern, cloud-based BI solutions is just one example of the kind of tools addressing these needs, enabling entrepreneurs to compete on a large, global scale with a smaller team, fewer resources and a targeted approach.

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