by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalytics
Until recently, traditional business intelligence applications led the way for companies looking to apply analytics within their organizations. Businesses looking for alternatives to large data warehousing and BI infrastructures were hard pressed to find alternatives outside of open source offerings. As enterprise organizations became more mature in their BI use, solution providers started to expand their offerings towards a broader audience. One of the outcomes is the proliferation of Software as a Service (SaaS) for BI and analytics, which has led to a slow and steady change in the way BI is offered and has changed expectations of organizations in relation to business intelligence due to increased flexibility and ease of delivery.
Although SaaS solutions have existed in the form of payroll, ERP, sales, etc., the overall adoption of SaaS for BI is a newer expansion in relation to the concept of providing analytics as a service. Consequently, many solutions now exist and offer analytics specific to Salesforce.com, data warehousing, general sales analytics and the like. In addition, broader BI providers are now selling similar solutions that enable customers to choose the type of delivery based on usage and access preferences.
Overall, SaaS is changing the way organizations look at business intelligence solutions. Expectations related to service levels, ease of use, and pricing guide purchasing decisions independent of company size or breadth of use. On a broader level, software vendors are responding to this change by expanding solution offerings, developing self-service models, placing a higher priority on value-added services, expanding licensing and pricing options, and delivering solutions that are services based. This article references these market changes and looks at how SaaS BI has enabled general BI market changes. These include overall pricing and licensing, the push towards self-service BI, providing a service-oriented approach to solution provision and the expansion of BI beyond the enterprise. Also, this article discusses the increasing use of targeted analytics and the diversity of BI use within organizations.
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