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Cloud Analytics: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Hoblitzell | | June 24, 2021


 
Business Intelligence is a key component to staying competitive in today’s market. With 89 percent of companies leveraging cloud-based platforms for some or all of their BI workloads, you may be looking into migrating from your on-premises systems.

Making the decision to move to the cloud from on-premises analytics solutions can be challenging. Let Datavail put your mind at ease by answering some of the most common questions about cloud analytics and addressing any concerns.
 

Understanding Cloud Analytics

What is cloud analytics?

At the most basic level, cloud analytics is using cloud computing technology for analytics functions. These solutions may be complete BI platforms or have components that are essential to gaining insights from your organization’s data. Many on-premises analytics solutions also have a cloud version, so it’s entirely possible that you could use the software you’re already familiar with when you migrate to the cloud.

How is cloud analytics different from on-premises?

With cloud analytics, the vendor handles everything from software updates to maintaining the hardware needed to run it. Rather than adding servers on-site when you need more resources, you can quickly scale up capacity based on changing requirements. You access cloud analytics software by logging into the solution on the vendor’s portal or website, or you may be using it as embedded analytics that’s pulled into another application.

What are the types of cloud analytics solutions?

You have several options for deploying cloud analytics in your organization:

  • Fully in the cloud: Your analytics solution is completely in the cloud, as is the data that it’s processing.
  • Hybrid cloud: You have a mix of on-premises and cloud-based software for your business intelligence needs. Organizations that have heavy investments in their on-premises solutions may want to leverage their available resources with this combination. Other companies may keep sensitive data stored on on-premises databases rather than keeping it in the cloud along with the analytics tool.
  • Public cloud: These cloud providers are widely available to users, and have multi-tenant configurations.
  • Private cloud: A private cloud is developed specifically for your organization’s requirements and usage, so you don’t have the same data privacy concerns that you would in a multi-tenant environment.
  • Multi-cloud: Vendor lock-in can be problematic in some situations. Using a multi-cloud analytics deployment means that you leverage more than one public cloud provider.
  • All-in-one cloud analytics platform: You get all analytics functionality in a single platform. These comprehensive solutions reduce the complexity of your business intelligence stack and allow you to leverage economy of scale for contracts.
  • Best-in-class cloud analytics applications: All-in-one platforms do a lot, but they might not be able to cover very specific use cases or could fall short in key areas. Best-in-class solutions are the best in a particular area of cloud analytics. They may be focused on a particular industry or functionality. You don’t get the same comprehensive set of tools that you would with an all-in-one, but you’ll get the ones that matter most to your organization.
  • Integrated cloud analytics components: You can create your own purpose-built cloud analytics solutions through cloud vendors offering the different components required for this functionality. For example, you can use an Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tool for getting data into a cloud-based data warehouse or data lake, then connecting that to a data visualization and dashboard creation tool.
  • Custom-developed, cloud-native analytics tool: You can also build a cloud analytics solution completely from scratch, although this approach requires substantially more resources than other options on this list.

 

Why Migrate to the Cloud

What are the benefits of cloud analytics?

There are a number of benefits companies are taking advantage of by moving their analytics environments to one central location in the cloud. Companies who have their analytics on the cloud can work more effectively and efficiently. Here is a list of additional benefits:

  • Flexible: You can pick and choose from a wide range of cloud analytics solutions, whether you need an application that handles your entire BI workload or one that fills in an important gap.
  • Scalable to massive data volumes: New data sources continually add to data sets, and having a system that can scale to accommodate the increased load is essential. These agile systems seamlessly scale, with many of them offering automated scaling so you can focus on the data analysis rather than the underlying hardware.
  • Easier to integrate than legacy tools: Many cloud analytics solutions have APIs and native integration support, allowing you to connect them to other software in your organization without extensive development.
  • May enable access to more modern technology: If you have legacy hardware and software on-site, you may have fallen behind on modern technology. Beyond the improvements in analytics solutions, such as AI-powered predictive analysis, you can also gain access to better security, more compute power, and other improvements.
  • Cost-effective: Your CAPEX costs shift to OPEX through the cloud’s subscription payment or a pay for what you use model. You don’t have to price according to your maximum required capacity but can scale your resources based on your workloads.
  • Access anytime, anywhere: Cloud analytics tools are accessible remotely, which is an important capability for remote-heavy workforces. Even if you don’t have a large number of employees working from home, having this level of system access means that everyone from executives to the sales team can get insights from any location.
  • Reduces load on in-house IT department: The software and hardware maintenance is handled by the cloud provider, so your in-house IT department has more time for their other important duties.

What pain points does the cloud solve for?

Moving to the cloud solves many pain points that organizations have with their analytics solutions.

  • Data silos: You can centralize your data in a cloud analytics tool, which allows you to have full visibility into your organization’s insights. Important metrics won’t be locked away. You can make data-driven decisions based on all the information available.
  • Unexpected expenses: You can better predict the total cost of ownership with the cloud solution, based on your current usage and future estimates.
  • Difficulty scaling analytics tools: Scaling on-premises solutions requires significant work and downtime. You avoid all that with a cloud analytics platform.
  • Problems with integrating data sources: Legacy software may face issues working with newly emerging data sources. The cloud’s flexibility can accommodate these groundbreaking needs without requiring significant custom development.
  • Obsolete solutions: Sometimes your hardware or software powering your BI solution is just obsolete. You can get a big upgrade by moving your operations to the cloud.
  • Limited IT resources: If your IT team can’t keep up with their daily workload, especially if it’s because they are constantly trying to prop up legacy solutions, moving to the cloud frees up large amounts of their time.
  • Lack of mobility: Most cloud-based solutions can be accessed through any Internet-enabled device, which opens up mobility for your organization.

 

The Logistics of a Cloud Migration

Where do I start once my company has decided to migrate to the cloud?

The first thing you should do is to take stock of your current analytics solution. Does your existing solution serve your needs? If not, where are the gaps? How much capacity do you need now and five years from now?

Go through a thorough audit and get feedback from all stakeholders, especially the end users. You can evaluate cloud analytics solutions based on this data to get a system that meets your current and future requirements.

What are some common issues to be aware of with cloud migrations?

If you’re in a regulated industry, check to see whether your chosen cloud solution meets requirements before you migrate. You may need a plan to store sensitive data on-site in a hybrid cloud infrastructure or a way to scrub this data before it’s analyzed. A comprehensive change management plan will help you transition staff from legacy systems to modern solutions.

How much will it cost to migrate?

The migration cost varies significantly depending on the type of cloud analytics solution you select, where you deploy it, and the scale of this system. Budget estimates during the planning process help you avoid unexpected expenses as you shift from CAPEX to OPEX.

What type of support services are available?

Managed service providers, such as Datavail, offer many types of support services for cloud analytics solutions and migrations. You can get help from end-to-end if necessary, along with ongoing maintenance and support.
 

Let Datavail Experts Guide You Through a Cloud Migration

Datavail has led hundreds of customers through successfully migrating products of all kinds to the cloud. We can guide you from start to finish with our team of experts so your cloud analytics deployment meets your expectations. We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner, Oracle Platinum Partner and AWS Advanced Tier Consulting Partner ready to tailor our services to your cloud migration project.

Reach out to Datavail to begin your cloud migration project today.

Learn more about Datavail Cloud Analytics services and also check out our extensive library of resources.

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