Microsoft Power BI has been on everyone's lips for several years now under the keyword "Self-Service BI" and contributes significantly to the perception of the Microsoft Data Platform as a leading analytics and business intelligence platform. In order to maintain and expand its leading position, Microsoft is making significant investments in the further development of the platform and is constantly increasing the range of functions via short, sometimes monthly release cycles.

For most companies the use of cloud services is initially often a step-by-step experiment. Based on individual accounts with one of the major cloud providers, various employees explore the possibilities and get an idea of what might be of interest to their company or department. Even these first explorations are usually subject to a fee. In order to keep an eye on where the journey is going financially, this initial option testing has to be tackled systematically. Such a plan is mandatory for a later widespread use of the cloud. Large providers such as AWS or Azure have usually planned the first steps for new customers diligently. With a Trusted Advisor, such as that found at AWS, the first steps are quickly and safely taken.

Today, most companies have already had experience with the cloud: applications, IT capacities or individual processes are sourced from a wide range of cloud providers. Agility, innovation, cost reduction, flexibility and scalability are the most common reasons for moving to the cloud. The practical questions are: which provider has the right services? Which parts of the corporate IT are suitable for outsourcing? How does a migration into the cloud actually work? How does it pay off and are the costs the only trigger for moving to the cloud? The question is usually no longer, "are we going into the cloud?" Rather, it is about questions such as "when and how?" or "which services are possible?". Not only beginners in the cloud topic ask themselves the question of the correct procedure.

Using the concrete example of the relocation of an HR analytics application to a cloud environment, some special features of cloud computing in the BI environment are presented here.

Digital transformation is everywhere! As if the IT-technological development of the last decades had only been an insignificant foreplay, digitization is on everyone's lips. No socially relevant field remains unaffected by this and it seems to be all about the question of speed. The demand for agility and flexibility sets the pace, and this has already clarified what the dynamics of digitization are aimed at. The different players are quite differently positioned and IT departments in companies are often unable to keep up with the pace on their own. Sourcing to IT service providers can relieve the burden on them, whether they are external service providers or internal service providers in larger groups. However, the ever-increasing expectations from business about the speed and scope of digital transformation are also changing the relationship between IT departments and their service providers. In the future, they will have to move much closer to the specialist departments in the companies in order to be able to deliver precisely and quickly.

Cloud computing is currently the technological answer to the many calls for agile IT environments in times of digitalization. However, the market is constantly changing and not a few cloud projects fail due to lack of preparation. The call for a sophisticated cloud strategy and secure procedural models is growing. Together with Microsoft and CAST, the market leader for software analysis and measurement, noventum consulting GmbH has developed a solution for these requirements. The professional partnership between the three companies culminates in a workshop offering for companies that want to test their way into the cloud.

Companies, public institutions, and state institutions are feverishly dealing with strategies for the digital age and are exploring how this technological megatrend is carrying changes over into all areas of life. The insight is taking a hold that any and all structures and processes will have to endure the digitalisation check-up. In this, sourcing strategies are also prominently encountering the pressure to change. However, a lot of companies do not yet have such strategies to date, and run the risk of losing control in the maelstrom of changes.

With its collaboration software SharePoint, Microsoft has been working since 2001 on combining under one roof a lot of functions that - to date - are operated separate from one another at companies: Intranet, extranet, content management, document management, personal cloud, business social networking, business intelligence, workflow management, web content management, and a lot more. The collaboration software - which has to potential to shape business communications as a whole - has arrived in day-to-day business at a lot of companies. Yet, the implementation of SharePoint technology is still a big challenge and a lot of implementation projects fail.

 

Cloud-based services provide some advantage over standard IT services such as scalability, cost reduction, and lower investment costs (operating costs instead of investment costs). The large cloud providers do by now offer a very diverse portfolio from Infrastructure-as-a-Service, via Platform-as-a-Service, all the way to Software-as-a-Service. With the AWS Marketplace, Amazon does, for example, offer the opportunity to provision more than 1,500 software products in 25 categories at the push of a button. In recent years, the cloud market has grown significantly and is playing a more and more important role.

Bring Your Own Device is still among the most discussed trends in the IT industry. What‘s making BYOD interesting for companies? Or is BYOD just an acronym for „Bring Your Own Disaster“?

In certain specialised areas, classic corporate performance management tools successfully perform their duties. For this reason, the current solutions in the marketplace include numerous specialised CPM tools that have been designed to fulfil the requirements of a certain area of specialisation or a specific BI Task.

 

Due to fluctuations in the economy or changes in the financial results of the companies, the expenditures for IT are subject to cyclical changes. Measures kept in abeyance in the short term and the cost savings resulting therefrom are offset in the next quarters. Increased investments are done again, only to ring in the next round of cost-cutting.

Motivation and added value of outsourcing activities nowadays differ from those in the early years of this important business segment of the world of IT. Originally, the purpose often was to unburden the IT budget. Through standardisation of platform or implementation of ITIL processes throughout, providers were able to achieve considerable cost-savings, which initially even made one or the other bumpy start into the outsourcing business forgivable.

IT is the backbone of the modern enterprise, not just another function within it. For businesses to continue to succeed in an increasingly technology-dependent world, CIOs must assume a strategic leadership role and drive change throughout the enterprise. Driving business strategy is not an entirely new role, but it is an added responsibility to the traditional CIO job function. While many CIOs possess the skills and ambition to impact business strategy, existing IT operational models and an aging infrastructure are holding them back. CIOs who have been successful in bridging the divide between IT and the business did it by first accelerating IT transformation.

Not all IT providers are alike. The customer structure and hence the portfolio make up part of the distinction, as well as the actual position in the technical upgrading cycle which all IT providers are more or less subject to. The consultants at noventum consulting have been working in the IT banking environment since the mid-1990s. In an editorial interview, noventum Management Consultant Markus Ristau and Stefan Wolters put together key data for a situation analysis dedicated to this special kind of IT Provider.

Companies have to establish a clear vision of the future if they want to know how to assure long-term success. With the help of an IT roadmap, business strategy, IT strategy and current IT trends are systematically put in relation with the IT services offered. In an interview, Wieland Schäfer, head of the LWL.IT department, explains his motives for creating an IT roadmap for the Landschaftsverband regional council.

There is no question: the cloud is here to stay. What it is, what use it has and whether it should be welcomed or feared is being discussed everywhere. Cloud computing will be a fundamental component of the future of IT. Sceptical voices are becoming quieter and we are discovering that processes, technologies and organisations can work together with the changes brought about by cloud computing and the discussion is generally taking place at a procedural or technological level.

Increasing internationalisation, constantly growing IT requirements and increased cost pressure force companies to review their IT strategy with respect to integrating cloud computing. In addition, cloud computing promises high agility, flexibility, reliability, security, availability and efficiency.