The state of cloud business intelligence 2019: Digging down on Dresner’s analysis

  • An all-time high 48% of organisations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019
  • Marketing and sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019
  • Small organisations of 100 employees or fewer are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI
  • The most preferred cloud BI providers are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

These and other insights are from Dresner Advisory Services’ 2019 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study. The 8th annual report focuses on end-user deployment trends and attitudes toward cloud computing and business intelligence (BI), defined as the technologies, tools, and solutions that rely on one or more cloud deployment models. What makes the study noteworthy is the depth of focus around the perceived benefits and barriers for cloud BI, the importance of cloud BI, and current and planned usage.

“We began tracking and analysing the cloud BI market dynamic in 2012 when adoption was nascent. Since that time, deployments of public cloud BI applications are increasing, with organisations citing substantial benefits versus traditional on-premises implementations,” said Howard Dresner, founder, and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. Please see page 10 of the study for specifics on the methodology.

Key insights gained from the report include the following:

An all-time high 48% of organisations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019

Organisations have more confidence in cloud BI than ever before, according to the study’s results. 2019 is seeing a sharp upturn in cloud BI’s importance, driven by the trust and credibility organisations have for accessing, analysing and storing sensitive company data on cloud platforms running BI applications.

Marketing and sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019

Business intelligence competency centres (BICC) and IT departments have an above-average interest in cloud BI as well, with their combined critical and very important scores being over 50%.

Dresner’s research team found that operations had the greatest duality of scores, with critical and not important being reported at comparable levels for this functional area. Dresner’s analysis indicates operations departments often rely on cloud BI to benchmark and improve existing processes while re-engineering legacy process areas.

Small organisations – of 100 employees or fewer – are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI

As has been the case in previous years’ studies, small organisations are leading all others in adopting cloud BI systems and platforms.  Perceived importance declines only slightly in mid-sized organisations (101-1,000 employees) and some large organisations (1,001-5,000 employees), where minimum scores of important offset declines in critical.

The retail/wholesale industry considers cloud BI the most important, followed by technology and advertising industries

Organisations competing in the retail/wholesale industry see the greatest value in adopting cloud BI to gain insights into improving their customer experiences and streamlining supply chains. Technology and advertising industries are industries that also see cloud BI as very important to their operations. Just over 30% of respondents in the education industry see cloud BI as very important.

R&D departments are the most prolific users of cloud BI systems today, followed by marketing and sales

The study highlights that R&D leading all other departments in existing cloud BI use reflects broader potential use cases being evaluated in 2019. Marketing & Sales is the next most prolific department using cloud BI systems.

Finance leads all others in their adoption of private cloud BI platforms, rivaling IT in their lack of adoption for public clouds

R&D departments are the next most likely to be relying on private clouds currently. Marketing and sales are the most likely to take a balanced approach to private and public cloud adoption, equally adopting private and public cloud BI.

Advanced visualisation, support for ad-hoc queries, personalised dashboards, and data integration/data quality tools/ETL tools are the four most popular cloud BI requirements in 2019

Dresner’s research team found the lowest-ranked cloud BI feature priorities in 2019 are social media analysis, complex event processing, big data, text analytics, and natural language analytics. This years’ analysis of most and least popular cloud BI requirements closely mirror traditional BI feature requirements.

Marketing and sales have the greatest interest in several of the most-required features including personalised dashboards, data discovery, data catalog, collaborative support, and natural language analytics

Marketing and sales also have the highest level of interest in the ability to write to transactional applications. R&D leads interest in ad-hoc query, big data, text analytics, and social media analytics.

The retail/wholesale industry leads interest in several features including ad-hoc query, dashboards, data integration, data discovery, production reporting, search interface, data catalog, and ability to write to transactional systems

Technology organisations give the highest score to advanced visualisation and end-user self-service. Healthcare respondents prioritise data mining, end-user data blending, and location analytics, the latter likely for asset tracking purposes. In-memory support scores highest with Financial Services respondent organisations.

Marketing and sales rely on a broader base of third party data connectors to get greater value from their cloud BI systems than their peers

The greater the scale, scope and depth of third-party connectors and integrations, the more valuable marketing and sales data becomes. Relying on connectors for greater insights into sales productivity & performance, social media, online marketing, online data storage, and simple productivity improvements are common in marketing and sales. Finance requiring integration to Salesforce reflects the CRM applications’ success transcending customer relationships into advanced accounting and financial reporting.

Subscription models are now the most preferred licensing strategy for cloud BI and have progressed over the last several years due to lower risk, lower entry costs, and lower carrying costs

Dresner’s research team found that subscription license and free trial (including trial and buy, which may also lead to subscription) are the two most preferred licensing strategies by cloud BI customers in 2019. Dresner Advisory Services predicts new engagements will be earned using subscription models, which is now seen as, at a minimum, important to approximately 90% of the base of respondents.

60% of organisations adopting cloud BI rank Amazon Web Services first, and 85% rank AWS first or second

43% choose Microsoft Azure first and 69% pick Azure first or second. Google Cloud closely trails Azure as the first choice among users but trails more widely after that. IBM Bluemix is the first choice of 12% of organisations responding in 2019.

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