In my previous perspectives on cloud computing, I addressed some of the realities of cloud costs as well as hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. In the midst of the pandemic, my colleague, Mark Smith, authored a series of perspectives on considerations for business continuity in general, beginning with this look at some of the investments organizations must make to mitigate the risk of business disruptions. In this perspective, I’d like to address some of the realities of business continuity and cloud computing and how they impact the digital technologies of an organization. The cloud can be both advantageous and disadvantageous when it comes to providing business continuity.
If you’ve ever been to London, you are probably familiar with the announcements on the London Underground to “mind the gap” between the trains and the platform. I suggest we also need to mind the gap between data and analytics. These worlds are often disconnected in organizations and, as a result, it limits their effectiveness and agility.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are valuable to data and analytics activities. Our research shows that organizations using AI/ML report gaining competitive advantage, improving customer experiences, responding faster to opportunities and threats and improving the bottom line with increased sales and lower costs. No wonder nearly 9 in 10 (87%) research participants report using AI/ML or planning to do so.
As I recently pointed out, process mining has emerged as a pivotal technology for data-driven organizations to discover, monitor and improve processes through use of real-time event data, transactional data and log files. With recent advancements, process mining has become more efficient at discovering insights in complex processes using algorithms and visualizations. Organizations use it to better understand the current state of systems and business processes. It is also used to enable business process intelligence and improvement in any function or industry using events and activity models for data-driven decision-making. We assert that through 2024, 1 in 4 organizations will look to streamline their operations by exploring process mining to optimize workflow and business processes.
Process mining is defined as the analysis of application telemetry including log files, transaction data and other instrumentation to understand and improve operational processes. Log data provides an abundance of information about what operations are occurring, the sequences involved in the processes, how long the processes are taking and whether or not the processes are completed successfully. As computing power has increased and storage costs have decreased, the economics of collecting and analyzing large amounts of log data have become much more attractive.
In my first perspective on cloud computing realities, I covered some of the cost considerations associated with cloud computing and how the cloud costing model may be different enough from on-premises models that some organizations are taken by surprise. In this perspective. I’d like to focus on realities of hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.
Organizations are collecting data from multiple data sources and a variety of systems to enrich their analytics and business intelligence (BI). But collecting data is only half of the equation. As the data grows, it becomes challenging to find the right data at the right time. Many organizations can’t take full advantage of their data lakes because they don’t know what data actually exists. Also, there are more regulations and compliance requirements than ever before. It is critical for organizations to understand the kind of data they have, who is handling it, what it is being used for and how it needs to be protected. They also have to avoid putting too many layers and wrappers around the data as it can make the data difficult to access. These challenges create a need for more automated ways to discover, track, research and govern the data.
Business intelligence has evolved. It now includes a spectrum of analytics, one of the most promising of which has been described as augmented intelligence. Some organizations have used the term to describe the practical reality that artificial intelligence with machine learning is not replacing human intelligence, but augmenting it. The term also represents the application of AI/ML to make business intelligence and analytics tools more powerful and easier to use. It’s this latter usage that I prefer and I’d like to explore in this perspective.
The migration to cloud is obvious. Organizations are adopting cloud computing for all variety of applications and use cases. Managed cloud services, commonly referred to as software as a service (SaaS), offer many benefits to organizations including significantly reduced labor costs for system administration and maintenance, as many of these costs are shifted to the software vendor. SaaS also provides organizations with faster time to value as they adopt new technologies by eliminating the need to acquire and configure hardware, and it also eliminates the need to install software. In fact, we assert that by 2025, nine in 10 organizations will be using multiple cloud applications in order to minimize the costs of administration and maintenance. Yet, there are some challenges associated with cloud computing I’d like to address in a series of Analyst Perspectives:
Organizations are managing and analyzing large datasets every day, identifying patterns and generating insights to inform decisions. This can provide numerous benefits for an organization, such as improved operational efficiency, cost optimization, fraud detection, competitive advantage and enhanced business processes. By bringing the right, actionable data to the right user, organizations can potentially speed up processes and make more effective operational decisions.