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Cloud Analytics Opportunities Trump Big Data Challenges

By April 15, 2012Article

Few topics in the tech world have surpassed all the talk about Big Data in 2012.

While the explosive growth of data from traditional, social and mobile sources certainly is posing a serious challenge to organizations of all sizes, a new generation of powerful cloud analytics tools, applications and platforms are providing valuable insights to corporate executives and end users so they can make better business decisions on a day-to-day basis.

All three layers of the cloud computing “stack” offer timely functional and economical resources to counteract the challenges posed by Big Data.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers are offering data storage, archival and back-up recovery resources, which can capture and manage data on-demand at a fraction of the cost of legacy systems and servers. The leading IaaS vendors are delivering highly reliable, yet low-cost services that enable organizations to store their structured and unstructured data without major capital investments and staff commitments

A widening array of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business intelligence (BI) solutions and analytics solutions are giving corporate executives and end users easier access to data and more powerful mechanisms to manipulate the data to produce more useful reports on a real-time basis. Whether it is simple dashboards or more sophisticated reporting, today’s SaaS BI and analytics solutions are converting data into actionable information and insight to help users do their jobs better.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions are also enabling organizations to build their own BI/analytics applications and tools to access internal and external data sources to more effectively respond to changing customer needs and competitive forces.

What makes these capabilities even more compelling is the fact that every leading cloud vendor recognizes that embedding analytics into their offerings and operations is essential to satisfying the needs of their customers at three levels.

First, users are increasingly expecting reporting dashboards to be offered as a basic feature of today’s cloud services so they can better measure the value of the solution.

Second, smart cloud vendors are continuously monitoring user behavior and using the data gained from every keystroke as a guide for continuously fine-tuning and devising new features to enhance their solutions.

Third, cloud vendors that have accumulated a critical mass of customers can aggregate the metadata derived from their day-to-day activity to produce valuable benchmark statistics that can represent valuable key performance indicators (KPIs). This provides a new level of value which is impossible for legacy, on-premise vendors to deliver, and gives cloud vendors a significant competitive advantage.

In sum, today’s cloud vendors are developing and delivering powerful analytic engines and end-user solutions that are enabling organizations to not only overcome their Big Data challenges but actually capitalize on the wealth of data becoming available.

Jeffrey Kaplan is the Managing Director of THINKstrategies, founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace and host of the Cloud Innovators Summit conference series. He can be reached at