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Lyndsay Wise

Hi and welcome to my blog! I look forward to bringing you weekly posts about what is happening in the world of BI, CDI and marketing performance management.

About the author >

Lyndsay is the President and Founder of WiseAnalytics, an independent analyst firm specializing in business intelligence, master data management and unstructured data. For†more than†seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay conducts regular research studies, consults, writes articles and speaks about improving the value of business intelligence within organizations. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources†are available in Lyndsay's BeyeNETWORK†Expert†Channel. Be sure to visit today!

More and more offerings are becoming available that tout the advantages of the cloud. Whether for operations, broader data storage, or analytics, many organizations are being bombarded with marketing messages that are persuading customers to consider cloud options. And the reality for many is that they have already been using hosted systems for their CRM, HR, or BI applications over the years, with this “new” cloud providing broader platform options or an additional option for the type of deployment. The question organizations looking at which way to go need to ask, is which option is better for us?

And the answer will depend on what is currently being done within the company and what future goals are working towards. In a sense, the type of organization considering the cloud can fall into 3 main categories:

  1. Organizations with large IT infrastructures and investments in hardware – The investment in the cloud at this point might be the hardest. When an organization has already made large investments in physical IT infrastructure, housing data in the cloud might not be worth an initial investment. The next consideration then, is whether to access business applications external to the organization when much of the data housed is stored internally. The reality is that there are many groups that do this by using Salesforce and other applications and then develop their own spreadsheets or analysis by combining this data with internal information sources. Now there are many solutions that can do this through automating processes. But taking advantage of this requires looking at the goals of the organization post-contract to determine how future data storage and access will be handled.
  2. Organizations using traditional BI and looking to expand their investments – Sometimes businesses do not have large IT infrastructures but are still running their companies without cloud considerations. In these cases, the ability to store and manage data externally might add to the capabilities they are looking to access but may not know how. In this case, it might require looking at how the pieces will fit together. Should data be stored in the cloud and leveraged by internal applications? This might also require looking at current transactions and how they are managed.
  3. Those newer to BI РIn some cases organizations are looking at business intelligence for the first time and trying to identify the type of solution they should select. This might make cloud adoption easier to justify due to the lack of investment in many types of applications. 

Another consideration is the current familiarity that exists with cloud computing. For instance, if an organization already uses hosted solutions, their questions will turn to the feasibility of the specific solution being evaluated. Other companies, however, may still be concerned about security and scalability – which is not a limitation of cloud computing, but may have implications based on the solution itself.

More generally, Hadoop and the ability to store complex and large distributed data sets provides the value proposition of moving to the cloud. Before this, organizations may have paid for services to manage and access their operations or analytics, but there was no way to develop a strong information management platform. This limited the true value because there was no way to close the loops between the system without accessing internal data sources or maintaining some aspects of the business internally. This is no longer the case. Because of this, organizations can start to look at cloud computing in a different light Рwhether it is a private, public, or hybrid cloud consideration, it is time for businesses to start delving deeper to identify whether the cloud fits immediate and future needs. This is the case whether looking for a broader way to manage the IT infrastructure or figuring out what to do when it is time for the next set of upgrades and contract negotiations. 

This post was written as part of the¬†IBM for Midsize Business¬†program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I‚Äôve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Posted September 16, 2013 3:24 PM
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