Savvy businesses use the cloud to ease workloads, increase productivity, facilitate mobility and reduce unprofitable expenditure. More and more IT leaders are looking for ways to work with the large volumes of data they handle on a daily basis, and the cloud lets them navigate the information they have to keep them at the top of their game.

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Navigating data

Data professionals and line of business users now have the ability to incorporate information from many different sources, including Amazon Aurora, Google Sheets, Adobe Analytics, Salesforce and Salesforce Wave Analytics. They also have the added advantage of bringing this together with the mass of data directly inside Apache Hive and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, so there’s no shortage of information to make the most of.

But with so much information to navigate, it can feel overwhelming. The cloud is at its best when it helps facilitate any confusion. It enables IT leaders to deliver intelligence to the right people at the right time. It gives them the much-needed flexibility to scale up and down according to demand, meaning they can quickly analyse data when needed.

Keeping competitive with the cloud and analytics

The true power of the cloud, however, comes when businesses use it to make the most of big data sources to execute a focused approach to analytics. Clever CIOs and their teams can ensure they retain the best advantage and stay competitive by pulling this information from various sources to turn into real-time, actionable insight.

When done well, the results can be revolutionary. Take Leeds Teaching Hospital, for example. It uses the hybrid cloud to support advanced analytics and analyse files, retail drug sales and hospital visit history. This helps the hospital identify costly errors that failed to be recorded in clinical databases, better enabling them to avoid future monetary waste.

What’s more, this analysis doesn’t have to be confined to the IT team. Self-service analytics equips wider teams by letting them easily dissect and analyse data problems themselves, in more depth than ever, without being a programmer at heart. This gives them deeper insights, in hours rather than weeks. And as data workers are more familiar with their own functional domains, they become far more effective at working on various projects at one time.

Predicting a revolution

It comes as no surprise that the volume of information organisations have to manage is going one way, up. The cloud offers a reliable platform which turns both unstructured and structured data sources into valuable business insight.

IT leaders need to make sure they’re on top of technology which helps them go further. The cloud enables them to enter the realm of predictive analytics which, when executed well, can transform business performance. The National Trust is a stand out example of this. In earlier years, its marketing campaigns weren’t matched to specific audiences. On a mission to provide a more tailored experience to its supporters, the Trust decided to use data to predict which information and updates would be most interesting for specific groups of supporters and potential supporters. It has been able to cluster supporters together based on interest or habitual location which the Trust has then used to develop predictive models that suggest which content will be of most interest for these particular groups. By using predictive analytics, the Trust is able to ensure it is being as effective as possible by taking action based on real-time insight.

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The cloud provides the foundation for these analytics technologies which will give businesses the crucial edge they need. Those IT leaders that haven’t yet harnessed the capability of the cloud need to get on board to make sure they have the resources in place as business demands evolve. Once they are using the cloud to help analyse big data, and then go on to draw predictions from this analysis, the possibilities are endless.