A growing number of vendors of business intelligence (BI) software, both well-established companies and new entrants, are offering BI software as a service (SaaS). Ventana Research believes this method of access can help companies lower costs, speed deployments and broaden usage of BI. But we believe companies should not make a blanket choice to deploy all BI internally or as a service, instead we recommend evaluating each for particular business needs and determining how to make the two approaches work together.
Software as a service can help companies overcome barriers to the use of business intelligence tools. For some, the initial startup cost limits launching of BI projects. SaaS offers them a viable alternative to deploy applications that can provide significant business value. BI SaaS does not require companies to make major upfront investments in a hardware server and licenses for the BI software, operating system, a database, and application and Web servers; instead the software provider hosts them over the Internet for a fee.
For companies in which IT workloads, knowledge and skills are barriers to deploying BI capabilities like reporting and analysis or business-specific analytics in a timely fashion, software as a service offers a means to quicken the IT function's response to business needs. IT organizations need not install, configure and upgrade software components and ensure they work together properly. In addition, IT does not have to spend time gathering extensive requirements information to understand how to build the application so that it fulfills the business need.