4 Questions to Ask Before You Define Your Cloud BI Strategy

June 25, 2012

These days, when it comes to enterprise software, it seems that it is all about the cloud. Some software applications such as Salesforce, Marketo, and Workday, have made quite a name for themselves in this space. Can Business Intelligence follow the same path to success? Does it make sense to house your BI in the cloud? I believe that it depends. Let’s explore why.

There are four criteria that impact the decision for a cloud vs. on-premise BI strategy.  Let’s take a look at how they affect your approach.

Question 1: Where is the data located?

Your BI Strategy should vary depending on the location of data.  If your data is distributed, some data may already be in the cloud, e.g. web data / clickstreams; and some on-premise, such as corporate data. For real-time or near real-time analytics, you need to deploy your BI as close to the source as possible. For example, when analyzing supply chain data out of an on-premise SAP system, where your database, application and infrastructure are all sitting on-premise, it is expensive and frankly impractical to move the data to the cloud before you start analyzing it.

Your data can also be geographically distributed. Unless your cloud infrastructure is co-located with your data geo zones, your BI experience can suffer from data latency and long refresh intervals.

Question 2: What are the security levels of data?

It’s important to acknowledge that data security levels are different in the cloud. You may not be able to put all your analytics outside of the company firewall. According to Cisco’s 2012 Global Cloud Networking survey, 72% of respondents cited data protection security as the top obstacle to a successful implementation of cloud services.

Question 3: What are the choice preferences of your users?

Customer preference is extremely important today. The balance of power has shifted, and users and customers are now the ones who decide whether an on-premise or a cloud deployment is suitable for them. What’s more, each customer’s maturity model is different. As an application provider or business process automation provider, you need to cater to your individual customers’ business needs.

Question 4: What operational SLAs does your Cloud BI vendor oblige you to?

Your operational SLAs can depend on cloud infrastructure providers, obliging you to service quality levels different from what you need. Pure cloud BI vendors provide their BI software over the public Internet through a utility pricing and delivery scheme. As much as this model provides an attractive alternative when resources are limited, it’s not for everyone. In most cases, the SaaS BI vendor depends on IaaS vendors (such as Amazon, Savvis, OpSource, etc.) for storage, hardware, and networks. As a result, the SaaS BI vendors’ operational processes have to align with the infrastructure vendors’ for housing, running, and backup/recovery of the BI software. Depending on your BI strategy, these nested and complex SLAs may or may not be the right choice.

Large enterprises, or even mid-market companies inspired by growth, typically develop an IT strategy that is provider-agnostic and has the flexibility to be hosted on-premise or in the in the cloud.   This strategy helps companies avoid lock-in and inflexibility down the road.

As cloud technology remains one of the hottest trends in IT today, it is important to assess whether cloud is the right choice for BI. The reality is that it depends. The center of gravity for BI is still on premise; however, it will move to the cloud over time mostly through the embedded BI capabilities of enterprise SaaS applications. Successful organizations will be the ones that can navigate the boundary between the two strategies and provide gr

eater flexibility and choice by offering a product that can be deployed on-premise, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both.

What is your Business Intelligence Cloud strategy?

- Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho

Originally posted on SmartData Collective on June 21, 2012


BI advice from Boromir

June 22, 2012

For all you BI developers out there (in our best Boromir voice)…


StoneGate Senior Living experiences 2800% ROI with Pentaho

June 18, 2012

In health and senior care, where the top priority is patient well-being, every penny of IT investment has to count.  Therefore, we are excited to announce that our customer, StoneGate Senior Living, has been named a Nucleus Research 2012 Technology ROI award winner.  Nucleus Research granted StoneGate this prestigious award for its integration of social collaboration, mobile access and analytics resulting in a 2800% return on investment!

Nucleus Research’s Technology ROI Award is granted to the top ten organizations each year that have maximized the value per dollar of their IT deployments.  Considering that this year’s award winners have achieved the highest cumulative ROI to date, we are especially proud to celebrate StoneGate’s success.

StoneGate Senior Living, which provides a range of support services to senior living and care properties, had been struggling to track and manage its overtime pay and expenses.  To resolve this, StoneGate established the Pentaho Business Analytics platform as the foundation for a new expense management system.

By aligning IT strategy and business goals using Pentaho Business Analytics, StoneGate has automated expense data collection and analysis across all 30 StoneGate facilities, resulting in an average annual benefit totalling $2,088,677.  StoneGate has achieved many other benefits including reducing overtime costs, accelerating accounts payable and automating other processes. The estimated payback occurred only two weeks into the Pentaho deployment.

Now that Pentaho Business Analytics has been successfully integrated, the sky’s the limit for StoneGate.  We are delighted to have been able to help StoneGate achieve its business goals and we extend our warmest congratulations to their team on this outstanding achievement!

Interested in learning more? Click here to read the case study about StoneGate’s Pentaho implementation, which includes the details of how the ROI for the Nucleus Award was assessed.

Rosanne Saccone
CMO


Are You?

June 15, 2012

You might be a badass… but are you a big data badass??

Happy Friday!


Pentaho Joins Dell Partner Program for Big Data

June 13, 2012

The opportunity that big data analytics provides for organizations to innovate quickly, predict events and improve customer relationships is endless. Our own customers including Shareable Ink, Travian Games and TravelTainment are using big data analytics today to analyze clinical data, innovate computer games and design targeted promotional campaigns – just to name a few.

Two key themes in of our vision for the future of analytics are to integrate with the leading technology partners in the big data analytics ecosystem and to enable cloud-ready applications.  In light of this, I am incredibly pleased to announce that today Pentaho is part of Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem, a new partnership program announced last April with the aim of focusing on cloud and big data enablement.

Pentaho’s big data analytics software will be offered with the Dell Apache Hadoop Solution, which brings together Cloudera’s distribution of Apache Hadoop, Dell’s hardware reference architecture and Dell’s Crowbar software, which automates and accelerates the deployment, configuration and ongoing operation of your cloud or cluster environment. The combined solution will also be offered with joint services and support.

What does this mean? I’ve had many conversations this year with customers who’ve told us they need to ‘operationalize’ Hadoop and that’s exactly what this partnership is about.  In a nutshell, this partnership makes it faster and easier for organizations to gain total insight from all their data through a single appliance that combines Hadoop integration, data integration and out-of-the-box analytics.

Why did Dell select Pentaho to be part of the Dell Apache Hadoop Solution? A major factor is that we were one of the first movers in the space announcing support for Big Data in May 2010 and we have many customers doing real work with big data.  We’ve also been working with Cloudera since October 2010 and have a longstanding strategic relationship with them, which includes technology integration.

The partnership means that Dell’s dedicated, big data sales team will now be reselling Pentaho directly into existing and new Dell accounts, initially in North America and other parts of the world very soon.  The Dell partnership also further commercializes Pentaho’s relationship with Cloudera by providing a vehicle to bring a big data offering to the market.

We look forward to helping you achieve your business goals through this important new partnership. For more information about Pentaho and Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem please visit pentaho.com/big-data/dell/.

Quentin


The Diary of a Construction Manger in Love with His BI Tool

June 7, 2012

Hi, my name is Bob and I am a construction manager. I oversee all aspects of managing the operations of a construction project, including budgets, staffing, and the compliance of the entire construction project.

In 10+ years of my experience, I have never had a Business Intelligence (BI) tool. I had to create spreadsheets to track daily activities, calculate risks and build formulas to measure impact. Given the size of the projects I worked on, this was extremely complex.  As a result, I would spend a lot of my time putting out fires to problems that I knew could have been prevented if I had the right information.

Recently my company introduced BI to our team. Since I’m using BI for the first time, I decided to create an activity log similar to a diary of my project.

Let me share some highlights with you:

October 28, 2011

We are 4 weeks into the project. We have the crew working on the ground. The foundation is done. The structural engineer has finished his design. We are ready to roll.

January 11, 2012

This morning I received an alert about my Preventative vs. Corrective Maintenance. My monthly work mix by type looks like this: preventative 36%; repair 24%; rebuild 5%; and modify 35%. My preventative costs have gone down from an optimal 40% to 36% and my repair costs have increased correspondingly.

When I drilled down into the repairs, I see that we are responding to higher than normal number of heating and insulation work items. I am going to talk to Edward – my HVAC contractor – about it.

February 29, 2012

I have been monitoring our electrical work. Our average Cost per SQ Foot is 13% less than industry average. This is a breakthrough thanks to the changes I have made monitoring the project with BI and making data-driven decisions. It lets me monitor these costs on an ongoing basis, so I can take preventative actions to stay below industry average to protect our funding and even justify additional headcount.

March 16, 2012

Productivity Rate is one of my favorite indicators – because it truly provides me with real-time info about the performance of my team. On average, our productivity rate stays on optimal levels. However, the plumbing trade group’s actual cost is exceeding the estimated costs. This will affect my cost-to-complete and margins, as I have to pay overtime for this contractor.

But I don’t have to worry… my BI tool lets me drill into this indicator to see whether the reason is ‘labor’ or ‘supply’ related. Drill-thru was something a spreadsheet could never let me do.

March 30, 2012

Two weeks have passed since I shifted resources for plumbing. Our productivity rates have improved since then and the project is looking on time and on budget.

With 40 more days to go, I want to make sure we deliver on time and meet our SLA with the building owners. I see no bottlenecks. Cycle Times – the average time to complete an activity – shows me that we are actually 4 days ahead of the schedule.

May 21, 2012

I’m very happy to report that we are done with the construction. The ROI on this project was greater than we expected and my client is very happy. Next weekend is the Memorial Day weekend. I have the time and money I need to take a nice vacation with my wife and son.

-As told by Bob, a fictional construction manager.

Even though the story is fictional, it’s based on reality. Business users and project managers – such as facility managers, supply chain logistic specialists, even dairy farmers – use Pentaho business intelligence to make their jobs easier and to make smarter, data driven decisions – just like our fictional friend, Bob.

Who knew BI could be so handy for construction managers?

What is your secret BI story? Drop me a line.

- Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho


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