The Cloud is pretty much top of the list of the corporate buzzword bingo phrases at the moment. It’s clear what the benefits are from a SAAS perspective, but it’s been less clear how the Business Intelligence world will start to make use of it.

Data Warehousing, Management Information, Cubes, Data Mining etc. all involve a lot of data, usually gigabytes or terrabytes even for medium sized organisations. Internet connectivity (speed and reliability) is obviously going to be a major concern and limiting factor however we can assume that connectivity will continue to improve dramatically over the next few years.

Security is a major concern; when you combine all of your company’s information into a single place (accounts, sales, customers, etc.) it raises a large question of how the security is managed when you let this information out of your firewalled LAN and host it on the internet.

It will of course bring a number of benefits incuding reduced infrastructure/capital costs, improved reliability and redundancy of hardware, increased accessibility for the mobile workforce etc. etc., and these should not be overlooked as they will no doubt provide a large incentive for some companies.

I’ve no doubt that the cloud is coming to BI, but I’d think carefully about what actual benefits it brings and how they trade off against any problems it may also bring.

There’s an interesting webcast panel discussion about BI and Cloud Computing below, including (among others) Donald Farmer from Microsoft discussing some of the issues above.

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The cloud is coming…

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