From the magazine: How cloud is democratising analytics

Smaller businesses can get into data analytics, a domain long the preserve of large corporates

On-premises high-performance hardware, storage, networking, etc. is simply too expensive to maintain, said Youssef.
On-premises high-performance hardware, storage, networking, etc. is simply too expensive to maintain, said Youssef.

Data analytics has become a mainstay for large established organisations. This puts smaller enterprises keen to compete with or disrupt established players on a clear disadvantage. 

However, cloud promises to democratise analytics in ways that could not be imagined a few years ago. Cloud allows all types and sizes of organisations with different levels of maturities to benefit from analytics tools and services, said Alaa Youssef, managing director, SAS Middle East.

“Today, we see enterprises that have low analytics maturity and cannot afford to have a dedicated analytics team, getting cloud services to gain access to their analytical analysis and outputs through Analytics-as-a-Service. So, if an SME is looking to access insights from the data it holds, then analytical solutions are useful here,” he added.

Analytics has traditionally been carried out on on-premise infrastructure. This allowed organisations to exercise control and ensure the security of their data. However, recent experiences show that on-premise does not necessarily mean secure, Youssef observed.

Secondly, organisations need to address their total cost of ownership. “On-premises high-performance hardware, storage, networking, etc. is simply too expensive to maintain, especially given the economies of scale and flexibility available in the cloud today.  They need to control cost, and take advantage of what cloud has to offer,” said Youssef.

On the other hand, cloud is known to facilitate increased collaboration between the business units, partners and other stakeholders which is one of the top drivers of cloud adoption, thereby improving business agility in this era of digitisation. “With virtual deployments, organisations can streamline communication and data can be extracted and analysed irrespective from where it originated, resulting in enhanced cohesiveness and speedy response to growing customer needs,” Youssef said.

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Moreover, vertical markets are massively benefitting from the implementation of cloud-based analytics. “Despite traditional hesitance, we see financial institutions adopting cloud analytics in a big way to capitalise on the opportunities created by digital transformation,” said Youssef.  

Organisations worldwide are turning to cloud software to reduce many of the costs and administrative headaches from traditional software implementations. “IT departments can focus on core support services rather than implementing and supporting multiple technologies,” Youssef observed.

SAS has initiated the ‘Evolve Your Analytics Platform’ campaign, designed to help organisations understand how they can evolve their existing analytical platform to a modern, flexible, cloud-based architecture, which supports the agile deployment of both SAS and Open Source AI and Machine Learning models in a single governed platform.

“As organisations make heavy investments towards digital transformation, SAS believes that their comprehensive range of cloud offerings, can help businesses gain power and freedom to innovate, manage risk and be agile in the cloud, whilst seamlessly being compatible with open source platforms,” Youssef said.

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