The Qlik Qonnections 2017 conference was recently held in Orlando, Florida and our Business Intelligence specialist Marian Ostaci attended a number of keynote addresses and breakout sessions.
One of the standout topics from this conference was cloud analytics, or more specifically hybrid cloud analytics. As hybrid cloud infrastructure has gained momentum this is not too surprising, and the term hybrid cloud analytics has been popping up a lot in the BI market. Hybrid IT is said to be changing the face of the industry, so it makes sense that this practice will extend to the cloud.
At Qlik 2020 Vision & Roadmap @ Qonnections 2017 this topic was expanded upon, and Qlik made it very clear that they have a vision that includes bringing the real value of cloud computing to all users, and that they are working towards customers embracing a more personalised cloud strategy, rather than having their options dictated by a vendor.
Qlik outlined what they looked on as their point of view with regards to what a cloud hybrid environment would mean. They said that they saw the cloud as a delivery mechanism, rather than a solution, that a hybrid approach to analytics makes absolute sense, and that hybrid cloud analytics, in a nutshell, would mean that they were able to analyse whether users were being given a viable solution, rather that a standard cloud solution that worked on a one-size-fits all basis.
Their ultimate definition was summed up as a platform-based visual analytics system whereby each component, from analytics and data preparation to visualization are available on site, or on public or private clouds or both- as determined by the customers data, specific needs or applications.
The key points regarding hybrid cloud analytics were:
- Value of on going choice
- Optimized computing
- Seamless experience across infrastructure
Qlik expanded on these key points and their vision for the future of cloud storage, cloud computing and cloud analytics in the business sector.
Qlik is concerned that current cloud solutions are simply accepted at face value and that there is no real attempt to make them work at their optimum for the customer. Customers are simply adapting to the cloud services available and moulding their business model around them, rather than looking at ways to adapt them to work with their systems. Hybrid cloud analytics would allow for cloud services to work for the customer, and would add additional value to their operations.
Qlik feels strongly that cloud computing should be looked as very much as a delivery mechanism and not an overall solution. Visualising data is not simply going to drive business value, but being able to analyse it, explore it and understand it will certainly drive production and improve results.
Deriving real business value from analytics only comes when a business is able to really understand the data, and this leads to better decisions being made and improved profits. Hybrid cloud analytics can add value to every business and can help users determine what their data really means, how to make decisions based on stats and how to move forward. A dumbed-down analytics solution is never going to be a valuable business tool, and simply because it is delivered by the cloud doesn’t mean it will really benefit growth, engagement and ultimately, lead to increased revenue and success.
With a hybrid approach to analytics, customers are able to define their strategy, rather than rely on one that’s been provided for them. This means that they can choose how they want their cloud services to run, what sort of infrastructure they require and how much they can afford to spend on this type of technology.
Currently, it seems that most businesses don’t have a black and white data and application solution – they may use cloud services, but also have data and applications that run on site, protected by a firewall. It’s for this reason that a hybrid approach to analytics would work so well, as it would support customers at their existing point, and assist them in migrating their workload over time, if they choose.
By implementing a hybrid approach to analytics customers can utilise their current infrastructure and make use of cloud services in a way that will fit in with their business model, rather than the cloud services dictating it. By optimising computing power, users will reap the rewards, and there is no need for massive amounts of money to be spent in changing systems, when they can be adapted and incorporate new methodologies as is.
Creating a Seamless Experience
Essentially, the point of hybrid cloud analytics would be to create a use experience that’s entirely seamless and that works across all platforms and infrastructure. With a hybrid option the customer should be able to choose which cloud they want to pair an on-site installation with and the cloud should work seamlessly with their existing infrastructure. Whether customers opt for a Qlik Sense Cloud, or a 3rd party private cloud solution, the results should be the same, and their existing infrastructure should be utilised, rather than alternatives (that may be costly) be required.
There are numerous large cloud vendors that dictate customer choices and whose products cannot be integrated with existing infrastructure. With hybrid cloud analytics, existing infrastructure would be worked with, rather than around, and on-site data and analytics should be accessible on any and all devices, including mobile, and managed as one.
Qlik is investing heavily in hybrid cloud analytics and in time they hope to deliver more capabilities that support this vision. Their aim is to empower customers and enable their cloud strategy to work for them, in the most rewarding way.