The Next Generation Cloud-based BI Tools

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The other day, I met with Solver’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mike Applegate to talk about the next generation cloud-based tools. I made my way to his office, which is located right next to the kitchen – how convenient, right? His office has multiple brainstorming sessions of project ideas and notes on the white wall to your right when you walk in and simple black photo frames of his two beautiful children propped behind his desk.

Mike is quite the all-star at Solver who leads the product strategy, research and development roadmap. He is the go-to Master of Ceremonies for company events, and he also manages product conception, technology, operations and delivery. Outside of Solver, he is a father, a husband, a soccer coach, and a referee.

Anyway, I sat him down and asked him a couple of questions regarding the future of Corporate Performance Management (CPM) technology. I spoke with this executive specifically because Mike has been spearheading the strategy of the cloud initiative for the past year and a half at Solver.

 

Kim: “What should we expect in the next generation of cloud-based tools?”
Applegate: “Well as you know, we’ve gone through many generations of moving into the cloud. Solver, as well, has moved in that direction. The thing is that our customers and the industry are looking for more. The next generation of that is more of a hybrid type of solution, which is keeping things on-premise and on the cloud. For example, in a reporting environment, you want to have all of your consumers use the reporting tool that is perfect for a cloud-type environment. Maybe you have a payroll budget then and that’s something you probably want to leave on-premise.”

Kim: “What are the signs that you should invest in a cloud service and why should companies consider us?”
Applegate: “That’s a good question. A cloud service offers a lot you don’t necessarily get with an on-premise service. One example that sticks out is the Information Technology (IT) dependency. When you have a cloud service, you have the provider that is managing the environment for you. They are managing the updates for you as well. Those are things you don’t have to worry about if you are in a cloud type situation. You are moving ahead more quickly with versions that come out or bug fixes that come out. You do not have to depend on the IT department. Additionally, economies have scaled. You have a better return on your investment when you are using a cloud solution because you do not have to invest in the infrastructure needed to support that solution. You are actually sharing that environment with other people.”

 

It wasn’t surprising to me on how much light he shined on this topic because Mike has been in the technology industry for 17 years. He continues to use his technical and financial experience in his role to connect customer needs as well as market needs with product strategy and technology.

According to webopedia, Cloud services refer to applications or resources “made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers.” Organizations usually use cloud-based computing as a way to enhance functionality, increase capacity, or add additional services on demand without having to invest in potentially expensive infrastructure costs. Cloud has changed our lives so much already, and I truly believe it will continue to improve our quality of life and work. Cloud-based solutions offer fast, flexible, and secure performance at anywhere and anytime. This type of platform requires no software to be installed on the computers of end users, providing access through any web interface. Think about how convenient this is to be able to review data on the run or share information from remote locations.

Mike mentioned that this generation is focusing on cloud-based solutions and offering on-premise hybrid type solutions as well, and we are going to see that in our providers in the Business Intelligence (BI) space. There are many solutions and software programs that either were born in the cloud or are currently on-premise moving to the Cloud. Across the board, companies are going to see corporate performance management (CPM) systems move to the cloud over the next 12 months.

The cloud may evolve into an entirely different animal next year. Cloud usage is rising fiercely in both its usage and importance worldwide. Cisco, the largest networking company in the world, found that more the 83 percent of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud within the next three years. According to Cloud Expert Ofer Gadish, who is also the CEO and Co-founder of Cloud Endure, a company that provides cloud migration and cloud disaster recovery for any application, predicts that we are going to see more organizations migrating to the cloud space in 2017. He mentions that “the cloud is finally mature and secure enough for enterprises, and its myriad of benefits outweigh any limitations.”

In conclusion, technology is racing toward the cloud, and the topics of cloud-based tools are exciting and have been something to consider more seriously.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

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