There is no doubt that Software as a Service, also known as SaaS, can help small and medium-sized businesses to improve the use of business intelligence tools. These tools consist of programs that assist managers to use data modeling to identify trends that are relevant to the bottom line. These may include trends among customer preferences and behavior as well as trends related to employees and workflow. Such tools can be implemented as part of a managed services approach, a model that uses hosted IT solutions in order to eliminate much of the physical infrastructure, including software disks that companies used to have to maintain on their own premises.
Because using business intelligence tools in an SaaS setting requires a new way of thinking about software provisioning, some industry insiders recommend that companies adopt this approach in stages that will allow them to grow comfortable over time as they explore the potential of this new model. An initial step can be to deploy to the cloud first those elements of the business that are less critical to the firm's central mission. As workers and managers become more comfortable with the new paradigm, further business elements can be added to the SaaS framework, gradually transitioning workflow onto a managed services model.
Another way to get started is to begin with a hybrid cloud approach that will allow some functions still to be managed at a local level. This can be important when the company handles data that needs to be kept highly secure. This would include customer financial information, for example.