If you have hoped that your data stores will give you the hedge over the competition, yield the “intelligence” that rakes in the profits—your optimism is ready to pay off. Cloud computing has made the cost of data storage and retrieval cheaper; and it holds out promises for those who want to use their data stores for Business Intelligence (BI).

Though the Cloud is still in its infancy with BI, a little bit of systematization and thought through effort will turn the data into information. A survey report [*] by Saugatuck Technology concluded that BI in the Cloud has accelerated. The 2011 numbers (13%) on companies that have adopted BI have been updated and more and more companies are seeing the potential of the Cloud in assisting them in gathering and using BI effectively. Many of them are exploring the Cloud and the Cloud tools that are available with great enthusiasm. The survey report estimates that BI will see an 84% annual growth rate. This will be further catalyzed by any downtrends in the economy.

Cloud services provide required toolsets for handling the complexities of BI. These tools include tools for assembling the analytics components, networking and storage. There are tools for data normalization using ETL, management of data sources, grounding the data and architecting the analytical solution. Many Cloud services are acquiring the capability of handling big data.

Cloud BI has several advantages over on-premise BI. Cloud BI is cheaper, it can be rapidly deployed, quickly and efficiently scaled up or down for processing, storage, operations or accessibility. Cloud BI permits instant updates when changes are made to data sources and supports a wide range of BI initiatives—such as one time analysis, experimentation, and trial deployment, broadening usage base and agile development and deployment of information. BI can be shared with business partners up and down the supply chain with remarkable ease.

However, data security remains a major concern. There are security issues around Cloud hosting and vendor selection / management. There are security issues relating to data transmission and storage. There are issues associated with data warehousing sizing and performance. Finally, there are pricing issues that must be tackled.

But, these issues need not detract us from adoption of Cloud BI. Many of the issues are being resolved in innovative ways and Cloud service vendors are proactively finding solutions to what appears to be intractable problems. The ubiquitous nature of the Cloud based warehouse, the cost effectiveness of the deployment and the proliferation of BI tools, makes it all very exciting and worthwhile.

[*] – Link source: http://bit.ly/NDICHz