More cloud business intelligence implementations are happening right now, especially among SMBs and in specific departments such as human resources, according to a new niche market report from Dresner Advisory Services.

Now in its second year, the cloud-specific report assesses answers from 1,182 completed surveys – 40 percent more than in the inaugural report – from IT and data decision-makers from various industries, 59 percent of which hail from the U.S.

Dividing among private, public or hybrid cloud options, all three increased in interest from last year, with a particular increase in cloud BI plans happening “today,” according to Dresner. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were currently using or setting up a private cloud for BI, a 12 percent jump from last year’s survey, and accompanied with a 7 percent year-over-year drop in the number of companies with no plans for private cloud BI. Growing more incrementally are plans for a hybrid cloud for business intelligence, with 30 percent implementing or intending to roll out a hybrid environment within the next two years (up 4 percent from 2012). In addition, pure public cloud BI deployments over the next two years only grew by approximately 1 percent from last year to 2013’s plans, Dresner stated.

That organizations continue to favor internally deployed cloud architectures compared with public or hybrid models isn’t a huge surprise given various security, recover and cost concerns, though Dresner wrote in the report that “we see an increase in current implementations and plans for all styles [of cloud] compared with 2012.”

Looking at responses by industry, nearly 40 percent of consumer products providers put cloud-based BI as “critical,” with the tech industry coming in second. There were no indications of the “critical” need for cloud BI from the utilities industry, and low levels of importance placed on the business intelligence option from government, manufacturing, and beverage and tobacco companies, according to Dresner’s survey. In terms of departmental need, human resources catapulted from low importance to the top business division function between 2012 and 2013. Companies with between 1-and-1,000 employees far outweighed adoption and interest in cloud BI compared with their larger counterparts, which generally stayed the same or even dipped from last year’s survey.

Respondents with a higher adoption rate for BI across their business also led in plans for cloud-based BI applications. Wrote Dresner: “Those with the highest penetration also tend to report the greatest success with business intelligence, and also tend to be more strategic in its use.”

When asked to rank the importance of cloud-based BI in terms of strategy, the largest change from last year came in those who put it as “critical,” at 16 percent, up 6 percentage points compared with 2012. In a separate survey question assessing weighted values of cloud BI, “better decision-making” registered as the answer with the more returns, while “increased competitive advantaged” was the lowest.

In Dresner’s signature annual survey on the broader BI market released in late May, results pointed to a plateau in user adoptions, though spikes in interest and use of SaaS and cloud as a BI resource. 

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