As the industry is inclining towards apps and then to the Cloud with less downtime, BI is also heading towards Cloud, Data Warehouses and various other data sources that might still live on-premises for a longer time. Hence, the need for BI apps to query across both realms will increase too. Data gravity proposes compelling industry challenges while BI has initially lived on-premises only with a small percentage of BI applications living in the cloud.
Data gravity is an undeniable market force that can be seen in mid-life crisis of BI industry. Compared to on premises, more data is generated in Cloud for the mobile and cloud’s first world of bazillion apps. The center of data gravity is shifting day by day as more apps are being delivered via Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud and Mobile.
It’s Impacting on BI
The value of data in Cloud cannot be ignored by BI and analytics pros. Typically, the gorgeous dashboards created by them are not at the dead end of a one way street. Many projects of analytics are very iterative in nature. These dashboards send action items for adjustment which further enlightens a decision maker. At various points from various data sources, business process is monitored by dashboard which is simultaneously tuned for optimal performance. Regardless of where they live, for delivering iterative intelligence effectively, added context and data is flowing back to forth between the analytical assets, data sources and apps rapidly.
Nowadays, more and more business apps in Cloud such as Marketo, Dynamics and Workday are lining. Because of growing volume of cloud data, copying and moving cloud data for analytical purposes is getting a bit more challenging. Today in a variety of use cases, specifically if data center managers are migrating workloads to Cloud, copying or moving data from the cloud to on-premises database servers make no sense. It matters how much value you get from your data and not the place its lives. That is why capabilities of hybrid BI is becoming essential for BI pros.
Hybrid BI Data Source Patterns
Since so many years, Salesforce that has been in the cloud game and BI pros are struggling in downloading Salesforce history of each company into a local data warehouse. Pulling excess amount of data with the default Salesforce bulk, APIs turned into a nightmare. Initially it seems as if it would work but surely will run into timeout issues. DBAmp proved to be the best solution for this issue as it created a SQL Server linked server connection with richer capabilities to the Salesforce bulk API. It helped Salesforce tables look like local SQL Server tables to make easier query with BI apps. As hybrid BI technologies and Cloud develops gradually, linked server pattern is seen intrinsically in few places ranging from data virtualization to remote distributed queries.
Another potent technology, Elastic queries allow users to query multiple databases with T-SQL and perform cross-database queries too for scaling out queries residing in the cloud to BI apps on-premises. Another hybrid BI Microsoft technology, Azure Data Factory is wrapped in the Cortana Analytics Suite that coordinates bigger data movement activities between cloud-to-cloud data sources. It connects wide variety of data sources. Next pattern is Power BI Data Management Gateway which is fairly unique to Microsoft. It enables centralized registration of on-premises data sources. Today, most Cloud BI solutions don’t require Power BI instead they copy data to cloud. Power BI helps in copying data from the cloud.
Future of Hybrid BI
The upcoming highlighted area of hybrid BI seems to be iterative and actionable as it includes R, Azure ML, new Power Apps integration with Power BI and Office. Embedding of predictive analytics capabilities in cloud applications will be enabled by Azure, ML and R. Regardless of deployment location choice, rapid deployment of intelligent analytics will be enabled by a catalog of predefined analytics solution templates. Moreover, with millions of users already using Office 365 in the cloud, still Office is the world’s most popular productivity tool. Between Office apps and Power BI, there are many synergies like group collaboration and awesome data storytelling with Sway. New Power Apps will allow business users in designing, building and deploying business process apps from templates. And for making Power BI an iterative and actionable decision making solution, no code should be used, technical users should not create forms instead of applying business logic and add workflows too.