It wasn’t long ago that businesses felt real-time analytics was a laughable and unnecessary concept, but in the past twelve months the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and the demand for real-time data insights is now seen as a critical path to success.
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Real-time data analytics used to come with a costly price tag, but how can cloud computing enable businesses of all sizes to benefit from big data analytics at speed?
Technology is cheaper than ever before
Thanks to Moore’s law, technology is cheaper than ever before, so businesses of all sizes are now able to take advantage of the latest technological advances previously only enjoyed by large corporations with big budgets.
However, it’s not just Moore’s law that is enabling businesses to get their teeth stuck into big data analytics, the cloud has opened the doors for many too, largely due to what appears to be a very attractive price model.
Cloud: Opex vs Capex
One of the industries that has benefitted the most from advantageous pricing structures is the big data industry. Despite relatively restrictive budgets, small businesses are now able to make the most of their money; the Cloud enables them to work within an Opex model instead of a Capex one. These smaller companies are more flexible and are able to adapt quicker to new technology, allowing them to integrate it within their business more easily than it is perhaps for larger enterprises.
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The Cloud means that businesses no longer need in-house servers for their data, so they can save money on buying and running hardware and infrastructures that they might quickly outgrow. Smaller businesses also need a degree of scalability to remain flexible with their growth, which is something the Cloud also provides businesses with, as businesses only need to invest in the software and solutions that they will need.
This is of great benefit to organisations that want to get started with data analytics fast but cannot invest upfront in analytic infrastructures.
Cloud: The perfect home for big data analytics
Business intelligence reporting and data analytics workloads are perfect for the Cloud; you can run reports when you need to and only pay for the computing power you use. Companies can start with their data analytics within short timescales, which in turn speeds up business intelligence and reporting projects. All this with just a few clicks of the mouse and at a price that suits their operational expenditure budgets.
The flexibility and scalability of the Cloud means that it has never been easier for companies to get involved with big data and data analytics as everything can be hosted in the Cloud at a cost that is transparent. By taking advantage of a database-as-a-Service offering, companies of all sizes can make big data the focus of their business plan, and the benefits of this are vast. For instance, the opportunity to analyse data sets to understand and act upon customer behaviour can be crucial for a business getting its customer service right.
Having a fast analytic solution allows smaller businesses to react to any event, resolve any problems and respond to queries as soon as they are reported. This improves the competitiveness of the brand, for if a business takes too long to respond to a situation, customers will just find a competitor who will give them what they want and give it to them more quickly.
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This is crucial for smaller brands, as it means that they are up-to-date with current technology and those who do not continue to adapt to it risk losing out on future business.
Cloud as the new route to market
In addition to the benefits gained by businesses that are able to access fast analytics, software vendors are also gaining an advantage. The big public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are creating a new route to market via their online marketplaces. Using these public clouds, businesses can get up and running using software for a myriad of jobs, including analytic databases. In the same sense that Apple has the app store for consumers, AWS and Azure have marketplaces for business, and companies are increasingly moving their infrastructures into the cloud.
What was once financially impossible for startups to achieve is now possible. Smart and innovative ideas are now capable of becoming reality, and the Cloud has provided businesses with the opportunity to start to compete and challenge the industry giants. This new competition can only be good for the industry, as it encourages more research and development and will push advancements in technology at a quicker rate as companies strive to improve and upgrade in order to stay ahead of their rivals. The Cloud is democratising Big data and all in the business community can benefit.
It will be interesting to see what new data-driven businesses are created as a result of the powerful combination of real-time data analytics in the Cloud.