The Democratization of Analytics in the Cloud
April 05, 2012

Jeffrey Kaplan

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"We've really graduated from the spreadsheet. Today's organizations need to respond much more quickly to market conditions. That means putting more information in the hands of more people in a organization. It's not just an issue of getting information to a few data analysts who are going to interact with the data warehouse."

Sound familiar?

Those words could have been spoken by the CXO of an organization of any size today. Or, by the CEO or CMO of a new Cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor.

It is actually a quote by Dave Henry, back in May 2002 on the KMWorld website. Dave was the VP of product marketing for a company called Sagent, which was acquired by Pitney Bowes.

Yes, solving the business intelligence (BI) and analytics challenge has been an age-old problem. And, today's 'Big Data' phenomenon has only compounded the challenge and made it more acute.

Since Dave Henry's 2002 promise that a new generation of solutions was emerging to address these challenges, a set of SaaS-based pioneers did give it a try with mixed results.

A team from Vancouver created Crystal Reports which are still at the core of the on-demand BI solutions being offered by SAP today. But, another team of entrepreneurs at Lucidera were unable to sell BI to small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and folded up.

Today, the market for Cloud-based BI and analytics solutions is red-hot. Big Data demands better analytic tools and solutions.

Fortunately, a combination of cheap Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) resources, user friendly SaaS solutions, and do-it-yourself Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) development tools is making it possible for anyone to build and utilize powerful new BI and analytics applications to meet their day-to-day analysis and long-term planning objectives.

And, the emergence of a new generation of analytics-oriented users is ensuring that these new tools are being put to good use. Just look at all your friends who are tracking stats for their fantasy leagues, or others weeding through data regarding other hobbies and habits. Monitoring data and measuring performance has become second nature.

Combine that urge with our growing willingness to share information and insight with our peers, based on our social networking habits cultivated on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and you have a confluence of forces which are creating a 'perfect storm' for an explosion of Cloud-based analytics alternatives.

These trends and the exciting new solutions which they are generating will be the focus of THINKstrategies' upcoming Cloud Analytics Summit on April 25 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. CIOs and other qualified corporate executives can attend this event for free by taking advantage of the complimentary passes made available by our sponsors.

Jeffrey Kaplan is the Managing Director of THINKstrategies and Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace.

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