Once cloud-based analytics are in place, platform management tools should be used to their full advantage to reduce ongoing costs. For example, centralized management – available through MicroStrategy on AWS – can help avoid the inefficiencies that would be associated with operating and maintaining multiple redundant tools. In practice, optimizing cloud platforms for cost-efficient analytics involves three core elements:

Provide Specialized Mechanisms for IT

At the same time that it’s important to give business users the ability to meet their own requirements, it’s also necessary to recognize that more technical users have separate needs that may be more complex. Therefore, best practices include providing mechanisms for IT and other technical users to perform advanced tasks as efficiently as possible.

For example, administrators should be empowered with visual platform tools to streamline processes such as creating, deploying, and managing cloud environments. In addition, those users should have the flexibility to tailor the environment further using scripts, code, APIs, and SDKs. In particular, those measures should be usable at the platform level as well as at the cloud-environment level.

Automate Migration to the Cloud

Many organizations that currently operate on-premises analytics infrastructure slowroll moving those systems to the cloud because of migration complexity and cost. Ideally, a centralized cloud platform should be able to copy an existing environment to a single backup file and then seamlessly import and deploy a duplicate environment to the cloud – all as a single operation. That level of automation relieves an organization from the need to manually move objects one by one or to stand up additional instances for the purposes of migration. Choosing a cloud-management platform that provides such functionality can save substantial staff time and company money.

Empower Business Users

Today’s businesses place a premium on speed, and the ability of business users to put new processes or capabilities in place without involving IT can add significant value. “Self-serve” mechanisms can eliminate roadblocks and boost productivity by allowing non-technical users to create dashboards and reports without having to write code or get help from IT. That empowerment can accelerate the pace of business innovation and improve the user experience, while at the same time reducing the cost of turning data into actionable results.

Organizations seeking to take full advantage of self-service IT in their cloud-based analytics should investigate the ability of their cloud-management platform to provide end-to-end business intelligence functionality. In addition, they should place a premium on the ability of those platforms to automate distribution of personalized reports, documents, and dashboards throughout the enterprise. Making those resources available to everyone who needs them increases the value of the information.