What is Cloud-Native Reporting?

Cloud-native reporting is SaaS (Software as a Service) based reporting with the capability to utilize the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Native Reporting Diagram

Customers can access these applications from various devices through an interface such as a web browser. However, the customer does not control or monitor the underlying cloud infrastructure, including servers, networks, storage, or operating systems.

With cloud-native reporting, customers simply log in to the cloud-based service. The latest version of the software is always available to them, without continually updating their devices to the newest software version.

Lately, cloud-native reporting has become a must-have in the business community. It has provided users with improved efficiency, and the range of advanced features are immensely relevant to a modern business. Therefore, more and more business owners prefer cloud-native reporting over traditional applications when delivering information to their stakeholders.

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Why Organizations Should Adopt Cloud-Native Reporting

Over the past decade, cloud-native solutions have increasingly become a part of many businesses. An everyday example is email providers such as Gmail and Outlook making it fast and straightforward to manage email accounts without dealing with the hassle of configuring and managing all the servers and infrastructure associated with it.

In today’s data-driven dynamic environment, businesses of all kinds realize the importance of cloud-based solutions. For instance, for a food-chain owner who is managing stores across multiple locations, it is challenging to coordinate income, labor cost, and other data from all stores. Here, an efficient and effective solution that includes cloud-native reporting can make all these tasks simpler and more manageable.

There are a number of key benefits of cloud-native reporting.

Accessibility

Cloud-native reporting can be accessed from any device, including mobile phones, tablets, and computers with a web browser and internet connection. Users can access their data and run analytics from anywhere in the world, anytime they want. This facility ensures real-time data, as it occurs. For example, if a POS records a transaction, the information is transmitted immediately to the cloud, and the data is then available for reporting.

In addition, this feature enables users to work remotely, whether they’re traveling for business or just checking in reports while they are off duty. Overall, cloud reporting tools make collaboration within and outside an organization extremely easy.

Cost Effectiveness

As business owners move from traditional reporting techniques to cloud-native reporting, they will instantly experience reduced business costs. This is because they won’t have to upgrade infrastructure, computers, equipment, or maintain hardware. This also minimizes the cost of having to set up a traditional IT team to maintain software. Instead, the software can be supported and managed with a cloud-based solution by a smaller IT team.

Efficiency

Cloud-native reporting is an efficient way of reporting compared to traditional software installation methods. Installing software across all physical computers in an organization and then having to regularly update and maintain these systems can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Cloud-native reporting saves a lot of time and effort.

Energy-Efficiency

Cloud-native reporting and computing are greener options than traditional IT tools and software. They won’t need heavy-duty equipment (such as computers or on-site servers) to carry out extensive and complex business tasks and thus will save the amount of electricity consumption.

Ease of Implementation and Use

Implementation of new applications and systems on-premises can take many months of fine tuning and tweaking. This is because an organization’s resources, requirements and priorities change, and their technology needs readjustment as a result. Implementation of Software as a Service (SaaS), however, takes much less time.

This simple implementation is primarily due to the reduced coding and the programs' simple configuring and scaling capabilities. This simplicity enables teams to start using the software and generating value as quickly as possible. Cloud-native reporting is straightforward, as the cloud providers and web-based applications manage the hectic and complex administrative services. They relieve the business owners from complicated billing/invoicing processes, hardware management, development workload, and other time-consuming administration tasks.

This means they can invest their quality time and skills in more constructive activities, which are crucial and far more beneficial for their business.

Flexibility

The flexibility of cloud-native reporting and computing makes it immensely helpful for businesses. This is because business owners need to pay only for the services, tools, and features they need at the starting stage of their business. At the later stage, when their business grows and expands, they can purchase and utilize more resources and features by spending more on cloud services. Another helpful feature is the personalized infrastructure offered by the cloud service providers, designed as per the users’ requirements.

What a start-up or small organization needs is different to what a multi-national needs. Also, as businesses change and grow, so do their requirements. SaaS cloud native reporting grows and changes as the needs do.

Sustainability of Business Operations

If a natural disaster strikes a business, and their operations are cloud based, it won’t be able to destroy computing capabilities that are associated with the company. This is because all the data and information reside somewhere else in the cloud and has nothing to do with the present location.

Come fire, flood, earthquake or wind, data is safe, secure, and yet still accessible.

Visibility Across the Value Chain

Cloud-native reporting is hugely beneficial for multi-location management. This is because it offers a single and centralized access to data from all locations and gives users comprehensive views of each location. Business owners can build dashboards to evaluate different business attributes such as financial status, labor costs, and sales information. This also helps them to assess the performance of individual stores.

As well as this, business owners can compare multiple locations, making it easy to monitor trends and find potential issues that need to be addressed. This will help them make quick data-driven decisions. They can even personalize their dashboard to control the visibility of data. As their business expands and adds even more locations, the cloud-based solution offers more adaptable data storage capacity at a reasonable price. Cloud-native reporting is an excellent solution for evaluating overall business performance.

Challenges with Cloud-Native Reporting

There are also a few unique concerns associated with cloud-native reporting, and these must be considered before adopting it as an organization.

Limited Customization

Though the cloud service providers offer a variety of features, they may not be able to incorporate the specific needs of some companies. For example, with the help of the internal IT team, some of the custom processes can be taken care of at the database level. However, when choosing cloud-reporting, most of these customizations may not be possible.

Need for Front-Office Staff

Cloud providers offer services to many clients at once. They provide access to the database through an application programming interface (API) instead of giving direct access. However, this may or may not fulfill business needs. Furthermore, though there are several automated internal processes, these processes have now become time-consuming. Therefore, more front-office staff are needed to perform different manual operations.

Service Outages

If the cloud service provider faces service outages, businesses that entirely rely on cloud computing and reporting can face complete disruption.

Reliable Internet

Once the business chooses cloud-native reporting, they will need a continuous and reliable internet connection with suitable bandwidth. So, if there are any internet issues in a particular area, businesses located in that area cannot adopt cloud-native reporting.

Going Out of Business

The risk of a new business or establishment failing is always a possibility. If a company’s whole database resides in the cloud and their business crashes, it will also take the associated companies down. So, any business relying on the cloud should look out for backup options and how they can extract data if any incidents occur. Also, they should ensure that the cloud provider has a third party that routinely backs up their data.

Although there are challenges associated with cloud-native reporting, these issues can be managed. Business intelligence and the cloud are a perfect fit. Business intelligence offers the correct data to the right people, while the cloud provides a rapid way to use business intelligence applications.

Key Aspects to Look for in a Cloud-Native Reporting Service Provider

Cloud service providers offer many services and benefits; however, identifying the right provider can be challenging for companies. Perhaps the primary challenge in choosing a provider is resisting the urge to approach the investment as a commodity. The right provider should offer seamless integration with existing cloud environments. Businesses need to define clearly and proactively the business and technical requirements they’re attempting to achieve, then gauge potential providers based on their capability to help achieve those goals. From there, comparing cost, feature sets, and service options becomes a whole lot easier.

The first and most crucial aspect of cloud-native reporting to consider is access and control. Since the data is stored and processed on an external server, what risk does this expose the business to? What measures does the service provider have in place to mitigate these risks? Likewise, how will access and control be defined for the organization’s setup? Since different functions need different data, will these controls be accurately mapped?

Next, customization must be considered. How will the provider’s system integrate with the business? What is the extent of transparency? How much input might business owners have in terms of the requirements of their system and business? While some of this will be limited with a public cloud option, it’s essential to know that if a company has performance issues, there is an opportunity for the business owners to have input.

When looking for a cloud services provider, business owners mainly want to choose a cloud service company that not only knows their requirements but understands their business or industry. In addition, the right cloud service provider can also accommodate the private cloud network’s infrastructure needs while providing access to a wide range of public cloud services.

Next in line is security standards and protocols. Again, users must focus on what the provider offers, what’s out-of-the-box, and what’s an add-on. What are the physical and logical security measures in place? And what mechanisms do they use to ensure adherence to security protocols? Similarly, if the business has compliance standards, they want to ask the providers about that upfront.

Another important thing is to examine the Service Level Agreement (SLA). What does the provider offer in terms of a guarantee on availability, capacity, support, and response time? Business owners don’t want to wait until there’s an outage or an issue with their system to discover that one of these elements will not meet their needs. While all service providers offer these standard services in their SLA, not everyone delivers.

The inputs will help in solving business problems. For that reason, business owners must consider the kind of support offered by their providers. Business owners must also check how easy it is to submit a trouble ticket? How responsive are the providers to those issues? What is the resolution process like? Similarly, they must ask who is providing the support? Is it a call service or a qualified technician who receives and communicates the information?

When looking for a cloud service provider, it is worth taking the time to research multiple vendors and understand their systems because reporting, in this case, is wholly dependent on their capabilities.

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Reporting that Offers Flexibility, Accessibility, and Speed

An organization that needs reporting tools on an on-demand basis, for a variety of team members, and from anywhere in the world, needs to consider cloud native reporting. A good provider will have processes and systems in place to negate any concerns, and provide services that scale up as required.

Cloud native reporting has changed the way organizations do business. When implementing cloud solutions, organizations must understand the variations between the cloud service offerings, and identify which options are the best fit. Making the right decision provides a gateway to innovation, opportunities, and a competitive advantage.