Data analytics and the cloud have attracted a lot of hype in recent quarters, and with good reason: both offer businesses a way to make operations more streamlined and profitable. But are businesses turning to the cloud for their business analytics? According to a new research note by Saugatuck Technology, only 13 percent of enterprises worldwide had some sort of cloud-based analytics solution in place. However, the firm also predicted that number would increase to 44 percent by 2013—good for an 84 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Saugatuck predicted that other types of cloud-based software for businesses, including CRM and software development applications, could experience a similarly healthy degree of uptake. “The adoption and use of practically any type of BI/analytics solution today is growing, Cloud-based or otherwise,” read the research note accompanying the data. “It’s growing because, when adequately developed and implemented, the software tends to deliver immediate, real, and recognizable business benefits to its users.” Those benefits include everything from an increased awareness of processes and costs (which may lead employees to attempt to streamline those costs) to acceleration in collecting and analyzing data. The growth in cloud-based B.I. applications seems split between companies such as Pentaho, which offer a portfolio of analytics tools, and those selling a single tool or relatively limited platform. Whatever the nature of the offerings, Saugatuck believes that interest in B.I. tools is being driven by a combination of “continuing economic uncertainty,” a focus by executives on business improvements, and a need for IT administrators to find cost-effective and scalable solutions—which often as not leads them to the cloud. In a May survey by Constellation Research of 105 CIOs (a relatively small sample size), some 48.7 percent felt that analytics, B.I. and Big Data would prove a top disruptive technology in 2013. That lagged a bit behind cloud deployment, which 56.37 percent of surveyed CIOs thought would prove a disruptive technology. Evidently, a lot of companies are looking at both these hyped trends and planning to combine the two.   Image: rvlsoft/