What Are the Benefits of Cloud Analytics?

It seems that everything in healthcare is going to the cloud, and with good reason.  The cloud has a lot of amazing benefits. This is true for healthcare cloud analytics as well and it is why so many healthcare organizations are looking at how they can move their analytics efforts to the cloud.

When recently talking with a hospital CIO, he was particularly interested in moving their genomics and personalized medicine infrastructure to the cloud. He saw a number of benefits to this approach. First, he wanted to empower his end users to be able to do whatever research or analysis they wanted to do without having to reach out to the IT team to make it happen. Cloud analytics made this possible because end users can login and request whatever resources were needed all through the portal this CIO created. The servers, the data stores, etc. were all provisioned automatically for the user once the request was approved. This was a game changer in his institution since it freed up this CIO’s IT staff and empowered his clinical and research staff to access the resources they need.

The second benefit he saw from moving their analytics to the cloud was related to costs. When an analytics project requires you to roll out new hardware and software, it can get expensive really fast.  Cloud analytics makes it much less expensive to start those analytics projects since you are usually only being charged for the disk space and cycles you need for the project. As the project expands, you may explore in house solutions, but many organizations find that the cloud analytics options are still less expensive even for larger long term projects.

The cloud scales

Cloud analytics can be less expensive even in the long term because the cloud will scale as needed and only charge you for the cycles you use.  In an in house analytics environment, your system resources are often sitting idle in between major projects. This leads to a situation where the IT staff is complaining about the in house analytics hardware not being used to full capacity and the analytics staff complaining that the in house analytics resources are not working fast enough for their liking. Cloud analytics solves this problem by not charging as much during slow periods, but being able to scale during busy periods which get your users results much faster.

While not always true, cloud analytics solutions are also generally better at accessing data from any and all data sources. This is particularly true of outside data sources like social media data where you can benefit from tools designed to work for any industry. At some point cloud analytics will be the only place you are going to be able to get certain data sets and then you will have to go to the cloud to access the data you need to provide care.

Collaboration

Another benefit of cloud analytics is it creates a centralized place where all members of your organization can collaborate. This centralization is valuable as your organization looks at what analytics projects are being done by various departments and other departments can collaborate with those who are finding success. Plus, it serves as a central location to assess and ensure the quality of the analytics being used.

By providing a cloud analytics platform, you also ensure the latest data is being used for analysis in a consistent workflow. Many data offerings make it easy for users to download the data and do their own simple data analysis in programs such as Excel. This can lead to inconsistent use of data, outdated data, and prevents the organization from knowing what analytics are being used effectively.  A well done cloud analytics platform will replace the need for people to do this external third party application analysis of the data.

Finally, cloud analytics provides better data governance. This includes tracking who is using which data and how it is being used. However, it also provides a central point of security for that data. Not to mention most cloud analytics applications are more secure than in house applications. Plus, cloud applications are generally more mobile friendly which is becoming an essential part of any analytics strategy.

If your organization is not benefiting from cloud analytics today, take a step back and evaluate your strategy. Is there a reason you are trying to do it all in house? Could your organization benefit from moving your healthcare analytics efforts to the cloud? If you are not doing analytics at your organization, why aren’t you? Cloud analytics could provide a low cost way to get started.