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LESSON - Why On-Demand Business Intelligence?

How this full-feature, low-cost approach to BI is increasingly chosen by savvy IT managers
By Brad Peters, CEO, Birst

In a difficult economy, smart businesses are pursuing every opportunity to maximize performance while minimizing costs. Business intelligence solutions are in demand as companies seek to optimize efficiency, effectiveness, and their competitive edge. While investments in conventional on-premise BI solutions are impractical and unattractive right now, the allure of on-demand BI solutions has never been stronger.

On-demand BI solutions, which are hosted solutions accessed over the Internet, offer the benefits of traditional BI while improving the economic bottom line. These solutions provide powerful and flexible business insight but are faster, easier, and less costly than traditional “behind-the-firewall” solutions.

The business benefits of on-demand BI are compelling and real:

Increased Access, Maximum Results

Lower cost and higher ease of use get BI into the hands of those who can make the biggest impact. Conventional solutions tend to be expensive and IT resource intensive, limiting their availability to a handful of dedicated analysts. On-demand solutions are easier, less costly to deploy, and require little expertise to use. As a result, they are more accessible to business users throughout the organization.

Faster ROI

A faster “time to value” allows for a quicker return on investment. On-demand BI solutions offer quick deployment and easy customization. Unlike traditional BI implementations, which can take 12 to 18 months or longer, on-demand BI solutions can typically be up and running in just a few weeks.

Ongoing maintenance and customization is also faster and easier. All software upgrades and architecture changes are handled by the vendor and automatically delivered to the customer.

Lower Implementation and Ongoing Costs

There are limited up-front costs and IT resource requirements. On-demand BI providers manage all of the back-end systems for their service, so customers are spared the hardware and setup costs associated with traditional BI solution deployment. Up-front costs for implementation are significantly less than traditional solutions.

Ongoing costs are also lower: On-demand BI vendors typically charge a subscription fee that provides a single price for use of the application, maintenance, and support.

On-demand BI solutions, which are hosted solutions accessed over the Internet, offer the benefits of traditional BI while improving the economic bottom line.

Easily scale from small to enterprise level. On-demand solutions are designed to support a large number of customers simultaneously with capacity to spare. This means any individual customer can quickly expand his or her on-demand solution by simply requesting a larger account size or more users.


Quickly adapt to changing business needs. On-demand BI solutions can be updated easily, so business users can quickly add new reports and dashboards, data sources, and analyses. With traditional BI, such changes could take weeks or months, involving significant IT resources.

Greater Visibility

Easily share data and reports, even outside the firewall. On-demand applications are deployed over the Internet so users can easily share data with others, both within the company and with outside partners. In addition, users can integrate data from multiple sources located anywhere, including other business units, or from suppliers and partners.

Low Risk, High Reward

Due to these significant benefits, on-demand BI is likely to have a substantial impact on your bottom line. BI is becoming much more accessible, flexible, and affordable for everyone. On-demand technologies are making it worthwhile for any size organization—from small and midsize businesses to large enterprises—to implement a BI solution that will lead to new insights and greater effectiveness throughout the business.

For a free white paper on this topic, click here and choose the title “Why On-Demand BI?”

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