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Posted by Boris Evelson on February 16, 2012
My colleagues and I have just completed yet another engagement with a large client — one of dozens recently — who was facing a to be or not to be decision: whether to move its BI platform and applications to the cloud. It’s a very typical question that our clients are asking these days, mainly for the following two reasons:
These clients put these two statements together and make the reasonable assumption that cloud BI will solve many of the current BI challenges that cloud-based CRM solved. Reasonable? Yes. Correct? Not so fast — the only correct answer is “It depends.”
Let’s take a couple of steps back. First, let’s define applications or packaged solutions vs. platforms (because BI requires both).
Platforms for building solutions
Now, let’s define “cloud.” First of all, the term is very often used synonymously with SaaS. But SaaS is just a business model; many on-premises solutions today (open source BI, financed/leased BI platforms, etc.) already use that. So let’s define what cloud-based SaaS is:
So . . . when we at Forrester talk about cloud BI, we usually mean a combination of cloud BI SaaS and PaaS. Now that we have defined what it is, let’s drill into the “it depends” statement we made at the beginning of this blog.
As demonstrated in numerous research documents, BI is unlike any other enterprise software or application (like CRM or ERP), because:
These are the main reasons why one can’t compare BI with CRM (or any other enterprise app) and make a conclusion that cloud BI is a panacea to all BI challenges. Having said that, the move to the cloud is happening; it’s just happening much more slowly than in any other enterprise software segment. Why? In addition to the reasons stated above, most of the enterprise data (from CRM, ERP and all other apps) has to get to the cloud first! Then BI will surely follow. As of this moment, here’s the state of the market:
I hope this post did not sound too negative about the cloud BI market; it is indeed one of the top current and future BI trends that we predicted and currently track. I only intend to separate fiction from reality and help our clients make more informed “to cloud or not to cloud BI” decisions.
As always, all comments are more than welcome.
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