3 ways running analytics in the cloud will give you a competitive edge.

We know that big data is big business, and with so many consumers willing to share information, having access to it is easier than ever before. In fact, a recent study by Mintel showed that 91% of Millennials in the UK own smartphones (compared to 93% in the US) and 60% percent of these users are willing to offer personal information to brands for a more curated customer experience. Thanks to this new quid-pro-quo mentality, companies now have access to a plethora of information, and when the right information is collected and streamlined efficiently and effectively, it can be used to make data-driven decisions that will lead to a competitive advantage. When it's not, it becomes a large ticking time-bomb made from a complex pile of unimplemented, expiring analytics.

In today's competitive world, valuable insights that will allow operational staff to take action in real time is no longer a luxury; it's the difference between being a leader in your industry and a competitor struggling to keep up. In the past, accessing, collecting, analyzing and cleaning data from various sources (loyalty cards, devices, subscriptions, forms, social media networks, etc.) was only possible for companies with large budgets and enough on-site staff to design, build and maintain the technology and gather, organize, dissect and analyze the information.

This often meant that smaller businesses without the money, time, and manpower were left on the sidelines —until cloud systems changed the game. These platforms have made it possible for businesses of all sizes have access to the data that will drive consumers to their products through strategic marketing and branding tools that are curated based on their individual wants and needs. This might explain why cloud BI solutions have grown 50% (from 29% to 43%) in the past three years and why 78% of organisations are planning to increase their use for data management and BI within the next year.

The question is no longer whether you should use the cloud, but rather, can you afford not to? Here are three key decision factors you can no longer ignore in business, to boost your brand and engage your most coveted consumers.

It's a strategic move

The success of cloud infrastructures has silenced critics who wrote it off as a tech trend by becoming the mainstream way to collect, organise and maintain data and 70% of companies have identified the cloud as a key part of their analytics strategy. These stats show that migration to cloud systems is not a short-term, knee-jerk solution. It is a smart, secure and strategic long-term investment companies are making which allows them to access valuable data while saving money, space, time and manpower.

It makes financial sense

Big data stacks are expensive to set up, maintain and update, and as we pointed out,  many smaller firms do not have the budget, space, skills or time to maintain the information system infrastructure. The cloud is a ready-made hardware platform, with an operating system and databases managed by the cloud provider. It can be set up instantly, extended, expanded, and removed with a pay-as-you-go model reducing your capital expenditure as well as lead times to deliver valuable insights to the business. There is never a need for you to upgrade systems as cloud technologies are updated by the vendor, ensuring you are always on the latest version. Why pay for an idle tech-stack and to constantly upgrade? Cloud systems allow businesses to spend their valuable resources on the data analytics and not the container.

It's secure

Though there has been an ongoing debate surrounding the safety of public and private cloud systems, experts believe them to be more secure than most companies' in-house data centres.

Cloud providers like our own EXACloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure spend large budgets on high-security authorization and authentication models, include data encryption algorithms that protect data both at rest and in motion. These facilities are regularly audited and tested too. And now there are security certifications. Can your company’s IT commit to this? Are you sure that your infrastructure offers the same level of security?

The offerings of the easily curated platform ensure that companies won't find themselves lacking resources which often led to costly inefficiency and data deterioration. Cloud systems are elastic, offering immediate access to a variety of tools that will allow companies to expand and shrink computing needs as needed.

Have you moved from an in-house system to cloud-based analytics? 

Big data offers great potential to small businesses – is your organization analytics-ready?

Big data and analytics continue to grow more important for businesses of all sizes. Does existing data in your business contain untapped potential?

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