DATA ANALYTICS

How Modern Cloud Analytics Opens Access to Business Intelligence

Julian Alvarado

Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Sigma

To compete in today’s connected world, companies of all sizes need the ability to identify opportunities as they arise and solve problems quickly. But without business intelligence, you’re forced to rely on guesswork. A modern cloud analytics tool can help you access and analyze data to inform daily decision-making. Cloud analytics empowers even small companies to base strategy on reliable, real-time data.

What is Cloud Analytics?

Cloud analytics uses remote computing resources to analyze data on demand. Cloud data analytics is nearly infinitely scalable and extremely fast, allowing organizations to gather relevant insights when they need them. Modern cloud analytics tools connect with cloud data platforms/warehouses and data pipeline tools to enable business teams to analyze data from a variety of sources — including SaaS solutions, mobile devices, social channels, and IoT devices.

The Limitations of Traditional Analytics

Before the cloud came on the scene, data stored in on-premises warehouses required expensive infrastructure and couldn’t scale easily. Data analytics tools were designed for these on-premises systems. But the advance of Big Data required new technology that could keep up with the volume, velocity, and variety of data now available for business intelligence. Cloud data warehouses were born.

Unfortunately, many data analytics tools didn’t keep up with the evolution of the cloud data warehouse. They were simply retrofitted to work in the cloud, meaning that they’re unable to take full advantage of the benefits that the CDW has to offer. Here are two key problems with traditional analytics tools that are solvable with modern cloud analytics.

They Use Data Extracts Requiring Heavy Modeling

Most traditional analytics tools demand that that data be extracted for use. Data extracts quickly become stale and usually require preparation and heavy modeling by the BI team before being analyzed.

They Require Technical Skills

Traditional analytics tools center on dashboards that users reference when they need insights. But these dashboards typically offer surface-level information only. Decision-makers who need to conduct what-if analysis or who need to understand the why behind a trend must rely on the data team for answers. Traditional analytics tools (and even many cloud analytics tools) require SQL or proprietary code to drill into data. So non-technical business users must wait for assistance before they can make data-informed decisions.

Cloud data analytics tools, and the underlying tools and technology that support them, give companies of any size the ability to work with the cloud’s speed, accessibility, and near-infinite scale. Cloud BI has completely transformed small companies’ ability to compete with enterprise-level organizations.

Benefits of Modern Cloud Analytics

Cloud data analytics offers a wealth of benefits to teams striving to be more data-driven. Let’s look at three advantages of cloud-native analytics.

  • Data Literacy and Faster Time to InsightsWhen business users are trained in data analytics best practices and invited to put data to use, teams can more easily collaborate and make better decisions. And when non-technical users can conduct their own queries using a familiar interface that doesn’t require coding skills, they reduce time to insights. With cloud-native analytics, decision-makers can access insights in real-time.
  • Improve BI AdoptionWhen business users can mine data themselves to find insights, they’re much more likely to use data in their decision-making. With intuitive cloud analytics solutions like Sigma, data pipeline tools like Fivetran and Matillion, and cloud data platforms like the Snowflake Data Cloud and or Amazon’s RedShift cloud data warehouse, analytics becomes simple for non-technical users, improving adoption.
  • Better, Easier ComplianceOver the last decade, we’ve seen data privacy concerns come to the forefront. GDPR set significant changes in data security requirements in motion, with California enacting privacy laws in the U.S. Data privacy topics appear in the news almost daily. Cloud-native analytics tools plug into managed cloud platforms that provide a simple way to comply with data privacy regulations. With limited access points, robust security tools, and governance oversight, cloud analytics offers compliance peace of mind.

Sigma: An Intuitive Cloud-Based Analytics Platform

Sigma is a plug-and play-solution for analytics in the cloud, bringing data exploration capabilities to non-technical users. Sigma connects directly with cloud data platforms/warehouses and cloud data pipeline tools to create a solution that makes the most of the cloud’s speed and scalability. Here’s what you can do with Sigma.

Explore Data in a Familiar Interface

Sigma was built for detailed data analysis, empowering non-technical teams to securely explore data in a spreadsheet-like interface. You can join, slice, filter, and calculate data to answer important questions for better decision-making. And Sigma makes it easy to query live data in real-time, down to row-level detail.

Work With Massive Amounts of Data

Sigma was specifically designed to let teams leverage the scale and processing capability of the cloud. With Sigma, you can work with billions of data rows from dozens of sources — no copies or extracts required. And because Sigma is cloud-native, you can process these quantities of real-time data in seconds to achieve as much detail as needed, even for everyday decisions.

Modern Data Governance

Governance is streamlined with Sigma since the software doesn’t remove data from the cloud data platform/warehouse for analysis. Sigma ensures data stays in a centralized, secure, and fully governed repository, helping to reduce the risk of a security breach and compliance violations. Additionally, Sigma follows modern security frameworks for authentication and access controls. So you have a centralized way to ensure proper access to data.

Improve Collaboration

Because Sigma pulls live data directly from your cloud data platform/warehouse, your teams can build shareable dashboards and reports that automatically stay updated — no extracts are ever created. Team members can duplicate and repurpose their colleagues’ analyses without creating version control issues. Everyone works off the same live datasets.

Cloud Analytics Allows Companies of All Sizes to Be Data-Driven

The cloud brought business intelligence to the masses. Now, companies of all sizes can access the same level of insights as enterprise companies. Data-driven decision-making is now not only within reach but also simple to implement

Ready to visualize your data for actionable insights?