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Cloud Analytics – Critical capabilities

1st June 2018

Cloud Analytics – Critical capabilities

Cloud Analytics – Critical capabilities.

Based on an article by Chris Whaley, Senior Director Cloud Operations, MicroStrategy.

The shift to the cloud is rife with opportunity for enterprises, and perhaps none are quite so strategic as placing critical insight into the hands of decision makers via cloud analytics platforms. Yet, as the analytics landscape evolves, not every cloud analytics platform is created equal. Finding the right solution hinges on 10 critical capabilities for success at enterprise scale. Impactful cloud analytics platforms bend to the needs of users rather than the other way around. That’s why it’s essential to know if a platform delivers the architecture and functionality needed for deployments at enterprise scale. After all, this needs to work seamlessly for users at all levels and departments across the organisation. Here are the top 10 critical capabilities for cloud-based analytics platforms:

1. Simplified Enterprise Deployment:

The cloud exists to simplify deployment, or In other words, to remove the barriers which prevent organisations from fast growth. Yet, the majority of cloud software and platforms still require IT expertise to download, install and configure. Fortunately, some analytics platforms remove these steps. Look for analytics environments that are deployable by any user with the touch of a button. Find a cloud platform that can quickly deliver insights to daily decision makers and your data-driven business intelligence (BI) journey will proceed on the path of least resistance.

2. Global Availability:

Enterprises that serve customers outside of the U.S. know that storing data locally offers major benefits. Beyond faster connections and lower latency for customers, it often means proper compliance with local laws and regulations. The same is true for a cloud analytics platform. At the end of the day, a platform with a global presence can make the difference from decisions that save time and money to those that lose resources.

3. API-enabled Operations:

Utilising a cloud analytics platform that operates on an open API and provides connectors means organizations gain unlimited flexibility to create custom workflows and dashboards. This includes making use of personal web pages that are branded with the same look and feel of the organisations. API’s can also be utilised in natural language generation, AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies such as smart voice devices (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant) in your analytics environment. By providing API’s, organisations can manage the environment at scale, rather than manually. Utilising an open platform, enterprises can consistently brand and govern their entire platform while getting the most out of existing investments and future-proofing the organisation for changing trends.

4. Disaster Recovery and Failover:

Cloud analytics platforms are strategic to an organisation’s everyday business. This means planning for the worst case scenario. What happens if the system crashes or fails? Ensure that your platform is hosted on a cloud service provider that makes it easy for customers to implement disaster recovery plans. Ask hard questions of your platform provider and evaluate whether or not they can help you execute an immediate recovery plan – unanswered questions in this area can directly lead to lost revenue.

5. Centralized Administration:

Platforms that give administrative power to the user are both beneficial to the workflow and cost effective. For example, many analytics environments don’t need to run outside of work hours, or have clear peak usage times. Dictating the size of your environment given critical hours can save resources. Even more, scheduling run time in advance means nobody has to “flick the switch” and environments are fired up and down through automation, providing an additional layer of convenience for platform users.

6. Auto Scaling:

As organisations amass vast amounts of data, their on-premises infrastructure often struggles to keep pace. This creates potential plateau issues for an analytics platform with evolving needs. A single data stack that an enterprise uses today might grow 10x tomorrow. Purchasing new and optimizing infrastructure is costly and likely represents a capital investment that will become obsolete in just a few years. Platforms that take advantage of automatically scaling environments up or down based on demand means agility and fast growth.

7. Seamless Upgrades:

Technology vendors are constantly offering upgrades to support additional functionality and prevent security risks. Organisations are hesitant to dedicate offline time or resources to tedious upgrade tasks. When platforms are hosted in the cloud, upgrading environments can be as simple as opening a browser with one click. This creates a level of governance which on-premise installations can only dream about. Ask your analytics platform provider how they handle upgrades – do they take full advantage of cloud infrastructure?

8. High Performance and Reliability:

Data is the core of today’s modern organisations, and without fast, reliable access to KPIs and data analytics, organisations risk losing their competitive edge. Just because you are in the cloud does not mean that you won’t be slowed down by other companies competing for the same resources. By working with a provider that uses a single tenant approach, your organisation will never have to question if other customers are constricting your performance and reliability.

9. Data Connectivity and Migration:

Your analytics platform shouldn’t inhibit productivity in any form. Whether you want all your data or just part of it on your analytics platform, there should be no obstacles standing between you and your data analytics. It’s critical to find a platform that provides flexibility to connect your data to any data source.

10. Data Security:

When it comes to data storage and management, security is the number one concern. Luckily, organisations are placing more trust in the cloud and it’s working to their benefit. Keeping up with different security regulations and protocols across industries and regions can be a big (and expensive) hassle. Instead, finding a platform you trust that’s compliant with the needs of your industry is integral to both cost and efficiency. Additionally, be sure that your platform has processes in place to notify customers immediately of any lost or potentially compromised data—a quick response is of the utmost importance following security threats large or small.

With these 10 critical capabilities at your disposal, your team will be in a strategic position to not just have access to analytics, but also experience the full benefits that cloud platforms have to offer. Having two or three of these capabilities isn’t enough for an enterprise grade analytics platform. Utilising each and every one of them will separate the leaders from the rest of the pack.

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