What is cloud analytics?
Benefits, methods, and more

A beginner’s guide to everything you need to know about cloud
analytics and it’s benefits.

A complete overview of cloud analytics

In today’s competitive business landscape, the incredible power of data can help an organization succeed or, if not harnessed correctly, lead it to fail. Data is evolving, and so too must businesses that hope to remain successful.

With the rise of mobile applications and digital touchpoints, organizations have more data at their fingertips than ever before. The cloud has made storing all of this data feasible, both from a technical and an economic perspective. But while there’s massive value in this change, it also presents a new challenge: how to keep from drowning in all of your data. Analytics solutions built for the past were not architected to handle data at the scale the cloud enables, and that’s introducing entirely new issues while also exacerbating existing problems.

Enter cloud analytics. At the core of any modern, data-driven business are powerful, yet easy-to-use analytics tools that go far beyond the basic “full-stack” computing bundles of the past. These new tools offer deep, scalable insights for everyone, not just those with technical expertise. Legacy business intelligence (BI) tools often lead to data silos, issues in collaboration, and multiple sources of truth. But cloud analytics puts the innovation happening across the modern data stack in the hands of every person, whenever and wherever they need to take data-driven action.


What is cloud analytics?

Cloud analytics is the practice of analyzing data in the cloud to discover actionable business insights. Cloud analytics enables users to examine and explore large datasets stored in the cloud to uncover relevant trends and patterns, predict outcomes, make stronger business decisions, and — ultimately — drive actions that propel a business forward.

While the process of using cloud analytics is similar to more traditional, on-premises (on-prem) analytics, there are certainly some distinctions between the two. Because cloud-based analytics doesn’t require a business to purchase, store, and maintain costly data centers, it’s generally a more efficient alternative to on-prem analytics.

Today’s businesses generate large volumes of data throughout their daily operations (from social media to IoT devices and beyond) and the majority of this is created in the cloud. Cloud analytics solutions are arguably the most efficient tools for processing these enormous amounts of data and providing easily accessible, understandable insights. Leading organizations go beyond their own proprietary data to leverage third-party data, too. This third-party data (whether obtained through partnerships or data marketplaces) is almost always in the cloud.

Many modern organizations have begun leveraging cloud analytics solutions that are imbued with artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline their operations, improve the customer experience, and execute smarter purchasing decisions. Today’s top cloud analytics solutions provide both a live experience for users to engage with the data and a live connection; where data is analyzed directly in the cloud platform so the insights, decisions, and actions are always as current as the data itself.

Regardless of company size, cloud-based technologies can support the building of stickier analytics experiences in applications, business process automation, and efficient product and service testing.


Benefits of cloud analytics that drive growth

As an organization grows, so does the amount of data it collects and stores. That large quantity of data can become a competitive asset, but only if the business can analyze it without having to average, cube, or aggregate it. The devil is in the details, and that’s especially true with cloud analytics.

Modern cloud analytics solutions help organizations in the following ways.

Ensure flexibility as you scale

Cloud analytics technologies are easier to use and more accessible than on-prem solutions, which require expensive hardware and more resources as demand grows. Cloud-based analytics solutions better accommodate shifts in demand since they enable businesses to pay for services as they need them, which supports the dynamic needs of a business’s computing and storage requirements.


Improve data sharing and collaboration

Large quantities of data don’t offer any business value if they’re stuck in departmental silos. Cloud analytics lets you look at all of your data instead of bits and pieces of it. Everyone has the same version of the truth, instead of — for example — sales only seeing sales data and finance only seeing finance data. Without cloud analytics, the two departments may have the same question, but their answers would be very different.

For instance, finance and sales might both want to know what their top products were in the previous month. Looking at the sales data, the team might determine the answer to be Product A, as it had the highest number of inventory shipped. But finance, on the other hand, may look at revenue data; and thus determine that Product B is the answer, as the margins on that product are better and contributed more to monthly revenue.

With cloud analytics, each department sees the same data, so both sales and finance would have a consistent understanding of the previous month’s top product. Those shared insights from each part of the business result in greater transparency and more informed decision-making.


Identify opportunities

Modern organizations understand the importance of using their data to determine what’s working, what’s not, and how to remedy issues that might be hindering their performance. Cloud analytics technologies help businesses review their data from every angle, so they can pinpoint and repeat their successes as well as detect and eliminate potential problems. Advanced algorithms enable accurate predictions, so businesses can more easily understand the future outcomes of their efforts.


Decrease costs

Cloud analytics helps businesses uncover and eliminate costly inefficiencies. For example, an organization can use data to optimize their supply chain spend. Without cloud analytics, a company might always buy from Vendor A because of factors like previous history or lack of pricing knowledge. But with the right platform, they can easily see that Vendor B currently offers the same materials for 20% less than Vendor A and make a switch that saves money and boosts margins.

Companies can reap cost-saving benefits in terms of hiring, too. Without cloud analytics, HR might calculate the average onboarding time to be 30 days; but they might be totally unaware that team X is successfully onboarding team members in just 10 days. With the right solution, HR can investigate exactly what team X is doing and implement those best practices to the wider organization—improving ramp times that ultimately drive productivity earlier and reduce time-consuming onboarding practices.


Enhance product and service quality

Data-driven product and service improvements are essential for maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring proper availability and delivery. Cloud analytics solutions empower businesses to quickly test and measure the success of new ideas without sacrificing time and resources. Organizations can use cloud analytics to identify and act upon any product or service inefficiencies and determine how any subsequent changes impact their quality.nboarding practices.


Improve customer experience

By monitoring and optimizing the customer experience, a business can set themselves apart from the competition. Cloud-basedanalytics helps businesses obtain insights from experiential and operational data to measure experience and satisfaction in real time. Armed with that knowledge, organizations can make meaningful improvements at every stage of the buyer’s journey, with increased personalization, engagement, and more to meet (or exceed) customer expectations.


Optimize sales, pricing, and packaging

Understanding customer behavior is an essential part of developing and optimizing a strong business strategy. Cloud analytics helps organizations use their data to identify buying patterns, specific customer behaviors, and how specific strategies affect purchasing decisions. This aids businesses in exploring options to better price and package goods and services, too. With in-depth buying behavior, marketing teams can deliver more effective, efficient campaigns that meet customers where they are along each step of their buying journey.

Learn how ThoughtSpot can help deliver personalized insights for
everyone, everywhere

How cloud analytics works

Cloud analytics systems are hosted in the cloud, which means all data is collected and stored in a single, secure place. The best cloud analytics solutions analyze the data right within the cloud platform, without requiring it to be moved or copied, ensuring insights are always up-to-date. It processes and analyzes large amounts of data from a variety of sources (e.g. a business's social media, CRM, HR system, etc.) and delivers resulting insights through easy-to-digest data visualization. It also ensures end-users can easily access that data from their internet-connected device.

Each cloud analytics solution offers distinct features, but there are some common components that are usually included, such as:

Data models

While there are myriad data models (ranging from very simple to extremely complex) that businesses can leverage, the goal remains unchanged: to visually demonstrate the data within the system, the relationship between different data points, and the ways in which the data can be formatted and organized. Data models are important for maintaining a consistent, predictable process of defining and managing data.


Processing applications

Large datasets require specific applications that can process all of the information stored within the data warehouse, without taking copious amounts of time to do so. Cloud-based analytics solutions provide intelligent processing applications that offer quick insights for faster decision making.


Analytics models

Where data models help businesses organize and visualize their data, analytics models help them to actually understand complex datasets and predict potential outcomes.


ThoughtSpot for your cloud analytics

ThoughtSpot’s Modern Analytics Cloud empowers businesses to create personalized, actionable insights from all of your cloud data to inform decisions and drive smarter actions. Our powerful Live Analytics services include user-friendly capabilities that drive improved insights, such as:

Search

ThoughtSpot enables any user to search their cloud data to create and discover key insights with natural language query (NQL)in the same way they search using Google, without needing to know SQL or table relations. Even the most complex queries can be easily executed at scale, with personalized, granular-level insights that speed-up your team’s time-to-action. And with automated, in-text coaching, ThoughtSpot makes it even easier to teach users how to search and analyze business data. And because users can view lineage and data catalog details, they can learn in-depth facts about how each query has been answered.

Connect

With ThoughtSpot, users can instantly connect to live cloud data sources like Snowflake and Databricks to query the data in their platform at the most granular level. With just a few clicks, teams can start searching their data across their existing cloud platform, find insights, and then sync those insights back to the cloud platform.

Auto analyze

Even if users don’t know where to get started, cloud analytics can use AI to ask and answer questions they care about, but wouldn’t necessarily know to ask. Businesses can get one-click AI-driven analysis to quickly understand anomalies, trends, and potential opportunities; all of which help to improve the bottom line.

Model

ThoughtSpot makes your data intuitive by empowering users to create governed, usable, and logical data models for Live Analytics. Teams can quickly get up-and-running with automated worksheet model creation and control. They can combine and filter data, add calculated metrics, collaborate and models, and easily ensure that the right people have access to the right data.

Operationalize

ThoughtSpot makes it easy for frontline teams to push insights back to business-critical apps (like Slack, Salesforce, and Hubspot), which can be used to trigger action in other applications. If your business has customer data in Hubspot, they can use ThoughtSpot to analyze the data and find insights into customers who, for example, like ordering pizza on Friday nights. They can then push that insight (i.e. that customer list) back into HubSpot to trigger an email that sends a 25%-off pizza coupon on Friday morning. This helps to streamline operations for a more informed, productive workforce.

Embed

Backed by ThoughtSpot Everywhere, a developer-friendly, low-code platform with flexible APIs, users can quickly embed interactive analytics experiences into business apps. Instead of static dashboards, teams gain a live, modern, and engaging cloud analytics experience that encourages curiosity and exploration.

At the backbone of any successful modern organization is deep, data-driven insights that help them to enhance growth and boost collaboration. Cloud analytics solutions eliminate the costly, inefficient challenges associated with on-prem alternatives, and instead offer the robust technology needed to detect patterns, identify opportunities, and support better business decisions.


Ready to try cloud analytics?

ThoughtSpot’s Modern Analytics Cloud empowers any user to create, utilize, and operationalize data-driven insights across every part of the business. Learn more about how consumer-grade search and AI technology provide true self-service analytics and easy integration for an improved bottom line, or start your free trial today.

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