- An all-time high 48% of organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019.
- Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019.
- Small organizations of 100 employees or less 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 analyzing the cloud BI market dynamic in 2012 when adoption was nascent. Since that time, deployments of public cloud BI applications are increasing, with organizations 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 organizations say cloud BI is either “critical” or “very important” to their operations in 2019. Organizations 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 organizations have for accessing, analyzing and storing sensitive company data on cloud platforms running BI applications.
- Marketing & Sales place the greatest importance on cloud BI in 2019. Business Intelligence Competency Centers (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 organizations of 100 employees or less are the most enthusiastic, perennial adopters and supporters of cloud BI. As has been the case in previous years’ studies, small organizations are leading all others in adopting cloud BI systems and platforms. Perceived importance declines only slightly in mid-sized organizations (101-1,000 employees) and some large organizations (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. Organizations 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 & 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 visualization, support for ad-hoc queries, personalized 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 personalized dashboards, data discovery, data catalog, collaborative support, and natural language analytics. Marketing & 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 organizations give the highest score to advanced visualization and end-user self-service. Healthcare respondents prioritize 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 organizations.
- Marketing & 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 & 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 organizations 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 organizations responding in 2019.
- 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services.
- 54% say AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority.
- 50% of enterprises say their stronger focus on metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) company-wide are a major driver of new investment in analytics and BI.
- 43% plan to both build and buy AI and machine learning applications and platforms.
- 42% are seeking to improve user experiences by automating discovery of data insights and 26% are using AI to provide user recommendations.
These and many other fascinating insights are from the recent TDWI Best Practices Report, BI and Analytics in the Age of AI and Big Data. An executive summary of the study is available online here. The entire study is available for download here (39 PP., PDF, free, opt-in). The study found that enterprises are placing a high priority on augmenting existing systems and replacing older technologies and data platforms with new cloud-based BI and predictive analytics ones. Transforming Data with Intelligence (TDWI) is a global community of AI, analytics, data science and machine learning professionals interested in staying current in these and more technology areas as part of their professional development. Please see page 3 of the study for specifics regarding the methodology.
Key takeaways from the study include the following:
- 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI applications and platforms as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services. 78% of enterprises are prioritizing advanced analytics, and 76% data preparation. 54% say AI, machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority. The following graphic ranks enterprises’ investment priorities for acquiring or subscribing to new technologies and cloud-based services by analytics and BI initiatives or strategies. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- Data warehouse or mart in the cloud (41%), data lake in the cloud (39%) and BI platform in the cloud (38%) are the top three types of technologies enterprises are planning to use. Based on this finding and others in the study, cloud platforms are the new normal in enterprises’ analytics and Bi strategies going into 2019. Cloud data storage (object, file, or block) and data virtualization or federation (both 32%) are the next-most planned for technologies by enterprises when it comes to investing in the analytics and BI initiatives. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- The three most important factors in delivering a positive user experience include good query performance (61%), creating and editing visualizations (60%), and personalizing dashboards and reports (also 60%). The three activities that lead to the least amount of satisfaction are using predictive analytics and forecasting tools (27% dissatisfied), “What if” analysis and deriving new data (25%) and searching across data and reports (24%). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 82% of enterprises are looking to broaden the base of analytics and BI platforms they rely on for insights and intelligence, not just stay with the solutions they have in place today. Just 18% of enterprises plan to add more instances of existing platforms and systems. Cloud-native platforms (38%), a new analytics platform (35%) and cloud-based data lakes (31%) are the top three system areas enterprises are planning to augment or replace existing BI, analytics, and data warehousing systems in. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- The majority of enterprises plan to both build and buy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions so that they can customize them to their specific needs. 43% of enterprises surveyed plan to both build and buy AI and ML applications and platforms, a figure higher than any other recent survey on this aspect of enterprise AI adoption. 13% of responding enterprises say they will exclusively build their own AI and ML applications.
- Capitalizing on machine learning’s innate strengths of applying algorithms to large volumes of data to find actionable new insights (54%) is what’s most important to the majority of enterprises. 47% of enterprises look to AI and machine learning to improve the accuracy and quality of information. And 42% are configuring AI and machine learning applications and platforms to augment user decision making by giving recommendations. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.
- 66% of organizations that consider themselves completely successful with Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives currently use the cloud.
- 86% of Cloud BI adopters name Amazon AWS as their first choice, 82% name Microsoft Azure, 66% name Google Cloud, and 36% identify IBM Bluemix as their preferred provider of cloud BI services.
These and other many other fascinating insights are from Dresner Advisory Services 2018 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study (client access reqd.) of the Wisdom of Crowds® series of research. The goal of the 7th annual edition of the study seeks to quantify end-user deployment trends and attitudes toward cloud computing and business intelligence (BI), defined as the technologies, tools, and solutions that employ one or more cloud deployment models. Dresner Advisory Services defines the scope of Business Intelligence (BI) tools and technologies to include query and reporting, OLAP (online analytical processing), data mining and advanced analytics, end-user tools for ad hoc query and analysis, and dashboards for performance monitoring. Please see page 10 of the study for the methodology. The study found the primary barriers to greater cloud BI adoption are enterprises’ concerns regarding data privacy and security.
Key takeaways from the study include the following:
- Cloud BI’s importance continues to accelerate in 2018, with the majority of respondents considering it an important element of their broader analytics strategies. The study found that mean level of sentiment rose from 2.68 to 3.22 (above the level of “important”) between 2017 and 2018, indicating the increased importance of Cloud BI over the last year. By region, Asia-Pacific respondents continue to be the strongest proponents of cloud computing regarding both adjusted mean (4.2 or “very important”) and levels of criticality. The following graphic illustrates Cloud BI’s growing importance between 2012 and 2018.
- Over 90% of Sales & Marketing teams say Cloud BI apps are important to getting their work done in 2018, leading all respondent categories in the survey. The study found that Cloud BI importance in 2018 is highest among Sales/Marketing and Executive Management respondents. One of the key factors driving this is the fact that both Sales & Marketing and Executive Management are increasingly relying on cloud-based front office applications and services that are integrated with and generate cloud-based data to track progress towards goals.
- Cloud BI is most critical to Financial Services & Insurance, Technology, and Retail & Wholesale Trade industries. The study recorded its highest-ever levels of Cloud Bi importance in 2018. Financial Services has the highest weighted mean interest in cloud BI (3.8, which approaches “very important” status shown in the figure below). Technology organizations, where half of the respondents say cloud BI is “critical” or “very important,” are the next most interested. Close to 90% of Retail/Wholesale respondents say SaaS/cloud BI is at least “important” to them. As it has been over time, Healthcare remains the industry least open to managed services for data and business intelligence.
- Cloud BI adoption is soaring in 2018, nearly doubling 2016 adoption levels. The study finds that the percentage of respondents using Cloud BI in 2018 nearly doubled from 25% of enterprise users in 2016. Year over year, current use rose from 31% to 49%. In the same time frame, the percentage of respondents with no plans to use cloud BI dropped by half, from 38% to 19%. This study has been completed for the last seven years, showing a steady progression of Cloud BI awareness and adoption, with 2018 being the first one showing the most significant rise in adoption levels ever.
- Sales & Marketing leads all departments in current use and planning for Cloud BI applications. Business Intelligence Competency Centers (BICC) are a close second, each with over 60% adoption rates for Cloud BI today. Operations including manufacturing and supply chains and services are the next most likely to use Cloud BI currently. Marketing and BICC lead current adoption and are contributing catalysts of Cloud BI’s soaring growth between 2016 and 2018. Both of these departments often have time-constrained and revenue-driven goals where quantifying contributions to company growth and achievement ad critical.
- Financial Services (62%), Technology (54%), and Education (54%) industries have the highest Cloud BI adoption rates in 2018. The retail/wholesale industry has the fourth-highest level of Cloud BI adoption and the greatest number of companies who are currently evaluating Cloud BI today. The least likely current or future users are found in manufacturing and security-sensitive healthcare organizations, where 45% respondents report no plans for cloud-based BI/analytics.
- Dashboards, advanced visualization, ad-hoc query, data integration, and self-service are the most-required Cloud BI features in 2018. Sales & Marketing need real-time feedback on key initiatives, programs, strategies, and progress towards goals. Dashboards and advanced visualization features’ dominance of feature requirements reflect this department’s ongoing need for real-time feedback on the progress of their teams towards goals. Reporting, data discovery, and end-user data blending (data preparation) make up the next tier of importance.
- Manufacturers have the greatest interest in dashboards, ad-hoc query, production reporting, search interface, location intelligence, and ability to write to transactional applications. Education respondents report the greatest interest in advanced visualization along with data integration, data mining, end-user data blending, data catalog, and collaborative support for group-based analysis. Financial Services respondents are highly interested in advanced visualization and lead all industries in self-service. Healthcare industry respondents lead interest only in in-memory support. Retail/Wholesale and Healthcare industry respondents are the least feature interested overall.
- Interest in cloud application connections to Salesforce, NetSuite, and other cloud-based platforms has increased 12% this year. Getting end-to-end visibility across supply chains, manufacturing centers, and distribution channels requires Cloud BI apps be integrated with cloud-based platforms and on-premises applications and data. Expect to see this accelerate in 2019 as Cloud BI apps become more pervasive across Marketing & Sales and Executive Management, in addition to Operations including supply chain management and manufacturing where real-time shop floor monitoring is growing rapidly.
- Retail/Wholesale, Business Services, Education and Financial Services & Insurance industries are most interested in Google Analytics connectors to obtain data for their Cloud BI apps. Respondents from Technology industries prioritize Salesforce integration and connectors above all others. Education respondents are most interested in MySQL and Google Drive integration and connectors. Manufacturers are most interested in connectors to Google AdWords, SurveyMonkey, and The Healthcare industry respondents prioritize SAP Cloud BI services and also interested in ServiceNow connectors.