Aberdeen Research: A Snapshot of the State of SaaS BI for BI Deployment [RESEARCH]

Aberdeen Research are one of the research firms that have been following the SaaS Business Intelligence trend for a while now. They recently published a paper called "SaaS Business Intelligence: Driving Agility through Self-Service". The paper ultimately recognizes the fact that the increased adoption of SaaS in the business intelligence field validates that it is increasingly becoming a viable option for BI deployment in all types of organizations. Instead of giving you a long-winded written summary of the report, we've decided to pick out some of the more interesting numbers!

Some background numbers: 325 organizations taking part in the survey 24 of those were using only SaaS BI, and 42 were using both SaaS and on-premise BI

Here are some of things we found interesting:

  • 26% of organizations surveyed are planning on implementing SaaS BI in the next 24 months
  • Aberdeen's research shows that on average, organizations that use SaaS BI are more likely to be able to adapt to changing business needs faster - this translates to an average of 15 days for 'time to build a new dashboard' - which is less than two-thirds of the time it takes using solely conventional BI.

[caption id="attachment_11423" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="Organizations using SaaS BI can evolve faster (Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2011)"][/caption]

  • Organizations using SaaS BI also tended to find that lack of IT resources was less of a barrier to BI adoption, in comparison to conventional BI users. The numbers: 30% of companies say lack of IT resources is a barrier to adoption, against 43%, for SaaS and conventional users respectively.
  • Self-service users stats: the research showed that users that used uniquely SaaS BI had a decent 45% of users classed as "self-service users" (rarely or never have to get help from IT professionals to meet analytical and reporting needs) against a smaller 38% for traditional BI-only users. See the graph below.

[caption id="attachment_11432" align="aligncenter" width="527" caption="SaaS increases self-service BI users (Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2011)"][/caption]

  • Note about completeness of data: Organizations that use both SaaS and traditional BI perform just as well as those that use conventional BI only - but SaaS BI alone lagged in this measure. Why is this? The study also found that SaaS BI users are demanding when it comes to information timeliness - 44% (SaaS only) and 42% (both) against a mere 27% (conventional only) - for the need for management information within 1 hour of a transaction. This higher frequency of data refresh understandably puts a strain on data collection and aggregation - it seems that SaaS BI users require information much faster than traditional BI users, who might be more content with longer timeframes for obtaining information.

Key Takeaways

  • Based on data from various pieces of Aberdeen research, they concluded that in 2010 around 13% of surveyed organizations were using some form of SaaS BI. For 2011, this figure is much higher, at around 20%. This is a pretty significant jump, and one consistent with the overall trends we are seeing generally in cloud adoption today.
  • It's in the data - the generally shorter average times reported by SaaS BI users that are required to create and change reports and dashboards, show that providing the flexibility that empowers the individual manager tends to reduce bottlenecks and time to decision, creating a smoother workflow and less resource wastage.

Source (including 'fast facts'): SaaS Business Intelligence: Driving Agility through Self-Service, Aberdeen Research.