Four Disruptive Forces—Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud—Reshape Data Environments

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The catch may be to find people with the types of skills required to enable enterprises to identify and take advantage of these new capabilities. “By adding a new platform that contains very large quantities of data, and re-architecting software to work with that kind of back-end data store, we introduce new security risks as well as management complexities,” said Barry Shteiman, director of security strategy for Imperva. “While it’s very easy for organizations to find SQL server expertise and knowledge, and a company can hire a 10- to 20-year database veteran, with big data everything is fresh and green. The expertise—while growing—is simply not there.”

Cloud May be the Solution to the Skills Shortage

Cloud-based data analytics poses a potential solution to many skills woes, as capabilities are developed and maintained by off-site providers. In the database sphere, cloud is an area that only recently has begun to take hold among enterprises. There is almost unlimited capacity available for data storage and analytic processing, but this has been held back by concerns about data security. Security concerns have given pause to companies that otherwise have been enthusiastically embracing cloud solutions for the rest of their enterprises. “As popular as cloud and SaaS services may be, what the majority of companies don’t know is that once they store data in the cloud, it is not completely safe and protected,” said Rob May, CEO of Backupify. “If you read the fine print in SLAs, you’ll often find that these applications can’t restore lost data if, for example, an employee accidentally deletes something.”

Many companies are getting comfortable enough with cloud to be able to look past data security concerns. “These concerns are abating and, since your data infrastructure is unlikely to scale up fast enough to keep up with increasing data needs, BI on cloud is going to be an inevitability,” said Joshi. “We have seen demand for cloud-based descriptive and predictive analytics solutions from telecom service providers. We expect industries where there is a lot of seasonal variation in data usage—such as retail and travel—to also start adopting cloud analytics solutions.”

The move to cloud won’t happen overnight, and likely will not consume entire enterprises. Instead, many changes are being accommodated within hybrid infrastructures. “Many companies have made significant investments in hardware for analytics and they are not going to simply write off these investments,” said Ian Matteson, vice president and general manager of cloud for MicroStrategy. “Nor will they move all of their BI applications into the cloud in one go. It’s too time-consuming, costly, and risky.” For new data applications, for example, the cloud is the way to go, he continued. “Ideally, these companies want their BI vendors to offer the same technology in the cloud as they do on-premises so that they can leverage the BI expertise they have already built in-house. The reality is there are certain implementations that organizations will want to keep in-house and on-premises.”

Ultimately, about half of major corporations are expected to soon consider deploying BI on the cloud, Patranabish predicts. He notes that cloud BI will provide a range of strategic and tactical benefits, from helping organizations focus on their core businesses, to greater ease of use, elasticity, higher availability, and improved business decision making. “Cloud can take BI to a whole new level as cloud-based services can support massive amounts of data and also provide consistent solutions, enterprisewide.”

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