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For some companies, business applications in the cloud is first choice

First the cloud, then the world.

OK, no cartoon evil genius said this one. But most organizations that care about cost-effectiveness and ease of management -- that is, all of them -- probably will sometime soon.

That's the message editors Ed Burns and Lauren Horwitz have for viewers in this episode of BizApps Today. Small businesses, retailers and big corporations alike are facing their compunctions about storing and managing their data off-premises and putting their business applications in the cloud right off the bat -- what's known as a cloud-first strategy.

Microsoft has certainly stated that its roadmap is in the cloud, so it's kind of pushing customers there as well, even if they have to do some painful migrations first.

Lauren Horwitz,
executive editor, SearchCRM

Burns, site editor for SearchBusinessAnalytics, told host Laura Aberle that, while there are things still holding back cloud adoption -- the time-consuming and often expensive task of moving the data itself and fears about security among them -- the word on the street is this: Get over it.

"A lot of people were urging businesses to move past those concerns," says Burns, who recently attended the 2015 TDWI Executive Summit in Las Vegas. One piece of advice circulating throughout the conference was to consider the cloud as an option for any data analytics or data warehousing project.

Self-service business intelligence was also a major theme at the conference, Burns says. Any organization interested in giving its workers the ability to slice and dice data themselves needs to address two main data warehousing areas, he says. The first is data architecture -- the data warehouse needs to be structured in a way that's easy for regular business users. The second is data governance -- making sure users handle data appropriately.

"The product of an analysis is data in and of itself, so what do you do with that data?" Burns asks. "Is it safe to just feed it back into the data warehouse? Sometimes it might not be, depending on the quality of the results."

Horwitz, executive editor for SearchCRM and SearchContentManagement, discusses another side of the cloud: customer service. Recently back from Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta, Horwitz says a lot of people talked about putting business applications in the cloud, specifically CRM software, as a default. She spoke to Miles Tedder, CIO of Pet Supplies Plus, which recently moved to Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the cloud and is also migrating to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud office software. Tedder said the cloud's simplified infrastructure and low cost has enabled Pet Supplies Plus to further its e-commerce operations.

"For Tedder, moving to the cloud just makes sense from a cost and a management perspective," Horwitz says. The company might not be in the cloud 100%, but it's close -- and that falls neatly into Microsoft's plans. "Microsoft has certainly stated that its roadmap is in the cloud," she says, "so it's kind of pushing customers there as well, even if they have to do some painful migrations first."

Text by Jason Sparapani, managing editor for e-publications. Email him at jsparapani@techtarget.com and follow us on Twitter: @sDataManagement.

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