2012 - the Year Companies Will Learn to Love 'Big Data,' Thanks to Cloud BI

In 2012, ‘Big Data’ will rise but also be cut to size, thanks to business intelligence (BI) delivered through the cloud. BI as an easy-to-use, affordable and scalable utility will let small companies or start-ups play in high-end data mining and analysis that used to be the domain of expensive software and experts guarding their knowledge. That's our main prediction for 2012. Speaking at the end of last year our CEO and Co-Founder, Rachel Delacour commented:

“Experts called 2011 the year of the cloud and are now predicting that 2012 will be the year of Big Data. Companies are realizing that they have a lot of information on their hands and will need tools to mine it, make sense of it and monetize it. So how will they be able to do this? The answer is cloud computing and SaaS’ BI.”

Here are our top 5 predictions for cloud computing and cloud BI in the coming year:

1. Go deep for cheap: What will really matter for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in 2012 is the fact they can for the first time mine their own business like the big guys, and do so quickly and cheaply! SMBs can use powerful, high-end tools delivered via their desktop browser or onto their tablet for just a few dollars a month to see what’s happening with their HR, their sales, their social media engagement. Those SaaS tools give a one-man shop or a 50-person outfit almost instantly the same firepower as a whole department with its own IT staff inside a multinational.

2. The best default we ever had: Cloud computing is finally becoming a standard that’s not only good enough to run your business, but now it’s stable, reliable, secure and powerful enough to be the default choice. Take our cloud business intelligence service Bime: It lets you connect to almost any data source you’ll ever need, no matter if the numbers are sitting in an old Excel spreadsheet on your laptop, on a mainframe at your supplier, or on a Google or Salesforce web server half a world away. A community manager, a sales person or a single web analyst can connect the dots, tens of millions of them, blend old data with live data, and turn the scary Big Data thing into visualizations and dashboards that make the blind see and the lame decide. In 2012, a BI widget on your iPad or Android phone will be worth a thousand emails.

3. Data will be your best sales person: While everyone from a CEO down is busy keeping the company running, collaborative BI will become every company’s best ambassador. Your clients -- and even prospective clients -- will be able to interact and collaborate with your company through live dashboards created from ‘Big Data.’ They show them all the necessary information and reports, without having to come to you first. Why does it matter? It saves time and money and it provides a quick and efficient customer service experience.

4. Land of the rising cloud: This trend of instantly empowering SMBs is not just limited to the U.S.. China is embracing cloud computing on a massive scale. The country’s more than 42 million small and medium size businesses, large government industries and government agencies have begun testing the power of computing delivered over the internet, helped along by a government push to establish cloud computing centers in all provinces. We expect that in 2012 China will become an important player in this area, with a large unmet need for affordable and nimble tools to mine any business between Beijing and Guangzhou.

5. Everyone will be the ‘Chief Data Officer’: While large companies are dealing with ‘Big Data’ by hiring Chief Data Officers, cloud BI will enable SMBs to turn every single employee into a data chief. Using a tool such as Bime frees employees from waiting for their IT experts to give them access to data when and where they need it. Mining your business will be as effortless as flipping a light switch, and it will mean customized questions and answers, not plowing through pre-determined reports and visualizations.

We’ll come back to our predictions later in the year for a de-brief on how we got on !

Happy New Year !