/ What accelerating trends in cloud BI say for data literacy

Our ability to adopt technology and utilize data is critical to improving the way we work, and everyone seems to know it. Cloud, self-service, collaboration, and governance are terms we all understand much better now than we did a decade ago, because most enterprises now understand the importance of information democracy in a way they never did before.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly served as an additional catalyst in the effort to improve performance within our organizations, but getting to a place where everyone has access to timely and relevant information to carry out the tasks associated with their jobs still has its challenges.

Fortunately, there are experts on this topic, and recently we talked to two of them—Dresner Advisory Services Founder, President, and Chief Research Officer Howard Dresner and Domo VP of Data Curiosity Ben Schein.

During a webinar titled The Evolution of BI: Fast Track Your Move to Self-Service and Cloud to Deliver the Leverage Your Business Needs, the pair discussed everything from why now is the time to “double down on data” to how things like data visualizations, automated workflows, and powerful applications can enable companies to better navigate an ever-changing business landscape.

Dresner Advisory Services conducts regular research in the areas of cloud BI and self-service BI, and what the firm recently found is that organizations have come a long way in their perceptions of cloud BI in a rather short period of time.

In 2012, for instance, most organizations polled said that they planned to stay on-prem for the foreseeable future. But around 2017, that attitude shifted to the point where cloud BI was no longer thought of as a fad.

What’s most notable now is the impact of the pandemic: With each passing month since February, there has been a dramatic uptick in the number of companies that consider cloud-based BI “critical,” as the following chart attests:

Dresner chart

During this time, while the answer to the question “Why cloud BI?” has been clear as day, some of the benefits have been brought into sharper focus—and some of the pre-existing business pressures have been exacerbated.

With teams scrambling to manage and provide access to on-prem infrastructure while businesses rapidly shifted to a remote workforce, the advantages of a cloud solution—such as the uninterrupted ability to get to real-time data and insights—became obvious.

Howard and Ben had a lot to say about this, especially as cloud BI relates to the variety of implementations that exist—e.g. public, private, hybrid, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)—and what those implementations mean for admins and end users.

While BI solutions are often pitched as having a cloud option, that typically just means that the software can be installed on your public or private cloud. And while such a solution may give end users a taste of BI leverage, it often creates a lot of stress—and also a lot of potential expense on an end administrator managing software installs, resource elasticity, security and compliance requirements, and more.

Ultimately for the end user, these back-of-office hurdles often mean slower time to action, queues for data requests, and siloed databases that hinder speed to decision making.

For admins and BI teams, the key benefits of a cloud-based SaaS solution include:

  • Reduced stress for admins, compared to managing a private or hybrid cloud solution
  • Increased resource elasticity, compared to on-prem solutions
  • Better security/reduced risk, compared to on-prem, private cloud, or hybrid cloud solutions

As Howard put it, “being able to leverage a managed service, as opposed to simply just ‘lifting and shifting’ into the cloud, is something organizations need to do. The current pandemic that we’re all living through right now has forced folks to take a fresh look, and maybe has allowed them to consider new approaches that are not more traditional on-prem with those long implementation times and some of the rigidity that we’ve had to deal with.”

This shift to cloud BI, with SaaS at the forefront of delivering the best futures for users and the smoothest experience for admins, goes much deeper than making life less stressful for admins, though. It enables an organization to instigate a culture shift toward collaboration, data literacy, and transparency, all in service of data storytelling and artistry.

Want to learn more? Check out the video clip below and then watch the webinar in full to hear Howard and Ben also discuss:

  • Why cloud BI is essential in getting leverage from your existing investments
  • What self-service BI could mean for empowering your organization
  • How and why Domo won the No. 1 spot in both Dresner’s Cloud BI report and Self-Service BI report
  • How collaboration and governance support transparency
  • How to enable data storytelling through data literacy

If you’d prefer to read more on this topic, download the e-book Self-Service Cloud BI: The Keystone for Creating Data Storytellers to get the inside track on all of the above, as well as a list of key trends in the BI space and guidance on what you can do to keep up.

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