As more and more enterprises explore the Cloud as a potential home for future BI and analytics solutions, they’ve often run into a fog bank of confusing offerings from dozens of vendors who are often more adept at hype than living up to customer expectations or requirements.
Key considerations when choosing cloud-based Business Intelligence software
With an eye towards avoiding inherent risks, I’m offering below some of the most crucial questions to ask in deciding if the Cloud may be a viable option for your BI needs.
- What do you need to ensure a Cloud-based offering will work smoothly with your current BI architecture and applications? Not all Cloud offerings are compatible with legacy BI platforms and applications and may pose some major risks in delivering BI services to and from remote locations with the same level of control and security as on-premise.
- Will your business users be able to benefit from the Cloud BI offering with the same level of independence from IT and the System of Record? Unfortunately, there are Cloud BI solutions on the market that do not support analytic workspaces, sandboxes or self-provisioning as you would expect them to do. Given the expectations today for agility and flexibility from Cloud BI platforms, you will need to carefully define what is and is not available in the system you choose.
- Will your choice of BI Cloud solution provide the prerequisite level of security and compliance demanded by IT and the business? Various levels of control are available from Cloud BI vendors, so you need to carefully align your company’s requirements with them, and ensure that there are no surprises for your compliance officer or IT.
- Will you be happy with your license and consumption model? Pay careful attention to the details of your contract to ensure that you have the level of flexibility that you need, or determine what you will lose in the bargain if you don’t get what you expected. Next, check the fine print, or what the language used really means (some vendors refer to “license-based subscriptions”… which is it, a license or a subscription?). Lastly, will your legacy system licenses allow you to move data into the cloud? Best to dust off that contract and double check.
These issues may be glossed over by Cloud BI vendors in their push for signatures on new contracts, but could prove costly should you not ask direct questions and get straight answers. As the saying goes, caveat emptor — Let the buyer beware.