BI Trends for 2021 – 9 of 9

The Future is Still in the Cloud – Number 9 Trend of 2021

As we are in the last quarter of 2021 and and move into 2022, companies will need to fully leverage cloud computing to efficiently aggregate data. 

According to Gartner, by 2022, public cloud services will be essential for 90% of data and analytics innovation. While many applications have embraced the cloud, the current digital transformation has escalated the need for more organizations to move more of their information and systems to the cloud. Gartner estimates:

“By 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud.”


Gartner cites three major categories of technology trends in 2021; two of them are people centricity and location independence..

In a nutshell, people will need greater access to digitalized processes to do their jobs in the future. While the physical
location of people, supplies and systems once mattered, technology now must accommodate “anywhere operations.”

As we move into 2022 and beyond, companies will need to leverage cloud computing to efficiently aggregate data from
systems and silos from a remote workforce and decentralized operations, while also giving users access to a single source of truth for reporting and decision-making.


At MCLOUD3, we can work with your company to help you understand your data and increase sales using Phocas Software.  To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 8 of 9

E-Commerce Continues to be Remarkable – Number 8 Trend of 2021

When we thought e-commerce was getting big, along came a global event that drove more people to shop online. 

The pandemic has had a major impact on the growth in e-commerce while also forcing traditional retail into an even deeper dive.

According to eMarketer, US e-commerce sales exceeded $794 billion in 2020, a 32.4% increase and significantly higher than the 18% predicted earlier in the year.  Of course, always take into consideration of how Cyber Monday has become the one of the largest on-line purchasing days each year.

Most experts agree that the pandemic will have some lasting impacts on how people shop.

First, the fall of brick-and-mortar retail as consumers now have fewer places to physically shop in-person. Many stores that closed early during COVID has not reopen.  Second, consumers are definitely comfortable shopping online.

Whereas consumers once wanted to kick the tires, try things on or pick their produce, they are now more likely to take a virtual tour, return things if they don’t fit and let trained shoppers pick out the right fruits and veggies.  And now consumers will purchase a car, without a test drive first.

For retailers, data analytics will play a critical role in optimizing operations; managing inventory;  monitoring trends, seasonal demands and customer buying habits; and managing labor and other expenses.

At MCLOUD3, we can work with retailers to understand their data and increase sales using Phocas Software.  To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 7 of 9

Lucky 7!!  The next up for our trends, is Lucky Number 7!!  BI & AI.  

Blending business intelligence with artificial intelligence:  BI and AI combined will give users even more power to use data to make better decisions

Business intelligence is a proven technology that provides organizations with the information they need to track performance across their sales, purchasing, logistics, marketing and other areas of operations.  They can see trends, identify opportunities and address challenges before they become major business hurdles. The process does require human insight and interaction with the data; however, to identify changes, which makes artificial intelligence (AI) and AI techniques such as machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) critical to keeping up with the pace of business and competition.  AI and these techniques make business intelligence even more  streamlined.

According to Gartner, “by the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI, driving a 5x increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures.”

 AI scales up the capability of traditional BI solutions by doing much of the “heavy lifting involved in preparing data to be analyzed, such as parsing and scrubbing.”

Raw data is returned ready for business analysis while users of all skill level, particularly those with no data analytics experience, can quickly find answers to questions.

AI can automatically review new data and identify important differences that can initiate actions. For example, when a customer stops buying a product that they frequently purchased in the past, AI can trigger a call to a customer. AI can also identify interesting differences in similar customers, such as what does one customer purchase that another one does not. AI can quickly identify similar customers while also the differences between the customers’ purchasing habits.

This year, there will be a greater convergence of BI and AI, providing users with even more power to manipulate and work with data to make better decisions.

To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 6 of 9

Our next trend for 2021 reviews the need for Digital Transformation and how why you should include this in your strategy for the company.  

A study by Twilio found that among 2,500 global enterprises, 97% of decision-makers believed the pandemic sped up their company’s digital transformation.

While many businesses have decided to ride out the pandemic by cutting costs and reducing overhead, others are looking to strengthen their operations, so they are better prepared for the new normal.

Pre-COVID, technology was already making major changes to a variety of industries, disrupting production, challenging boundaries and labor, and redefining how we work. Once the pandemic hit, the slow and steady pace of the technology rollout was replaced with speed and vigor.

The pandemic amplified the trends, putting in motion digital strategies that replace face-to-face and in-person meetings and engagement with online collaboration and work-from-home initiatives.

Data analytics will play a critical role within companies that want to successfully navigate this new normal and execute a sustainable digital transformation. Data is the common thread that connects the entire operation, and for companies to compete effectively and profitably in the post-COVID world, data analytics must be fully embedded in the culture and operations of the business. Companies that want to remain viable must give their leaders and teams access to accurate and timely data so they can respond quickly to the ever-changing landscape.


In 2021, companies with digital transformation plans in action will vastly outpace those without.

To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 5 of 9

Drum roll please:  Number 5 Trend.  Here we discuss having accessing to accurate data so everyone can leverage a unified source of truth using Phocas Software.

In 2021, speed will continue to be an important characteristic of successful companies.

For businesses to meet the needs of their customers and adjust to changing landscapes, they will need access to relevant and accurate data. Data will reduce decision-making timeframes and empower more people across the business to make decisions.

Decision-making has often been left to the top-tier levels of management because they were most often the ones with access to the information. 

In addition, many complex ERP systems and technical reporting systems require dedicated IT staff who control most data analytics and reporting functions. These specialists become the internal champions for the solutions and the bottlenecks who impact how quickly information flows throughout the organization.

As the pace of business has increased, organizations recognize how important data has become to more functions across the company.

As a result, they entrust their people with secure, role-based access to business data, and the tools they need to dig in and find value in the information. The number of people accessing and analyzing information that was previously limited to only a select few will continue to grow, further centralizing the decision-making around a single source of truth.

Organizations will be more successful in the future when their frontline workers have access to accurate information and are empowered to make decisions. Providing the information and decentralizing the decision-making will help alleviate overtaxed IT teams, reduce the management burden and dramatically reduce decision-making timeframes.

To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 4 of 9

Continuing our list of top trends, predictive analytics can advise the immediate impact on revenue and the potential fixes with Phocas Software.

The Accenture report, “Finance 2020: Death by Digital”, states that finance is evolving from:

“an expense control, spreadsheet-driven accounting and reporting center into a predictive analytics powerhouse that creates business value. Finance is doing things that it never could before, thanks to digital technologies.”

Traditionally, business intelligence has relied on people to extract insights. Given the structured nature of financial data (revenue/cost of sales/operating expenses etc.), insights can be generated automatically such as the identification of the reasons for a drop in profitability and the recommended courses of action to remediate.

The tasks that finance teams can perform are transforming.  The accounting team will move away from transactional accounting and rely on technology for predictive insight into how markets, competitors and consumers are affecting overall business performance.

Imagine if a retailer cuts the shelf space of your product line in stores by 15% across the country.  Predictive  analytics can advise on the immediate impact on revenue, what are the potential fixes and the effects on purchasing, competitiveness and sales.. 


To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 3 of 9

Next up, visualizing your data and how it leads companies to action.

Finance teams turn to visualizations to help. Traditionally, financial reporting is numbers heavy. More than 65% of the population are visual learners, so it makes sense for finance teams to turn to visualizations to help people understand the data and make more informed business decisions.

A global finance study by PwC found that only a quarter of the finance team’s time is spent delivering business insight.

One effective way for finance to provide understanding is through highly contextualized, ‘smart’ visualizations. The ability to explain complex concepts, find correlations and causations in data and present compelling stories helps to elevate the finance team’s role in a business.

Visualizations lead to greater engagement of the broader management team. 

As an example, automatically showing or extrapolating trends for revenue that make-up actuals and forecasts part way through a financial period helps the rest of the business act quickly in areas that need improvement.

If the financial team presented this information in a dashboard, the stakeholders can investigate figures and find answers fast. Other people in the business can identify trends and insights more readily –helping the data to bring about more action.



To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 2 of 9

Continuing down this journey of trends for 2021, the financial performance IS the heart of an organization.

Near real-time access to key performance indicators helps people to see the impact of their decisions, which makes them more accountable for the execution of a strategy and quickly demonstrates what works and what doesn’t.

Widespread access to financial performance also allows people to have more meaningful conversations about business performance.

The tools embedded in BI such as visualizations and dashboards, make it easier to educate the entire team about financial indicators. The BI solution functions as a holistic digital backbone for all divisions while financial dashboards improve interdepartmental communication, allowing everyone to work from the same data, and monitor and own their departmental financial performance.

In a dashboard, the data is interactive allowing stakeholders to investigate figures and find answers quickly.

For a long time, the financial numbers were the domain of the accounting team, but this has changed. Using software that makes it easier to share revenues, profitability, performance to budget with other departments means more people can engage and invest in the improvement of the team’s performance.


To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


BI Trends for 2021 – 1 of 9

Despite all the change in 2020, data has held, if not strengthened, its position as a critical business asset.

Accessible, accurate and consolidated data is vital for business decision support— especially in times of significant change.

The businesses with good access to up-to-date data arguably coped better with all the disruption. The reason:  managers and CFOs could diagnose their specific situations in detail, giving them the confidence to move fast and innovate to match changing consumer behavior.

The megatrend in the business intelligence market is the application of data analytics to the finance function, resulting in a significant increase in value-adds provided to the broader business.

The power of business intelligence (BI) is enabling finance teams to share critical finance indicators more efficiently. These indicators provide insights into the impact of operational decisions on the bottom line, so decision-makers can quickly troubleshoot or add more value. Finance is doing things that it never could before, thanks to the adoption of digital technologies such as BI and analytics.

Let’s go on a journey as we will explore 9 BI Trends for 2021, from budgeting and forecasting to blending business intelligence with artificial intelligence!  Leveraging Phocas Software will elevate your organization.  Let’s start with Number 1.

Businesses are operating in increasingly dynamic and volatile environments, and the time to adjust and respond has contracted.

To keep pace with rapidly changing market conditions, we are seeing a shift to integrating budgeting and forecasting with BI to inform the company strategy better.

Businesses are adopting software tools to simplify the budgeting process and make it more collaborative, so budgets are more integral to decision-making.

Managers recognize the need for budgets to be highly visible so that all stakeholders can monitor the impacts and outcomes.

Decision-makers also need to re-forecast on-demand or run rolling forecasts.

Finance teams that are preparing budgets in data analytics solutions are benefitting from all the data they can access and the speed with which re-forecasting can take place.

BI software allows the budgets and forecasts to be live — making re-forecasting more straightforward because it’s clear what’s budgeted and what’s achieved for the year-to-date. Many finance teams are also carrying out ‘scenario’ or ‘what-if analysis.’

BI enables them to determine what would a margin look like if they did ‘X,’ so managers can make measured judgements and better predict the next 12 months.

To learn more about MCLOUD3 and Phocas Software us at or visit our website by clicking here.

Written by Phocas Software


Why the Sales Dashboard is Not Dead

When your salespeople are on the road, at home and in the office, they need quick access to key data and insights, enabling them to make better decisions. That’s where sales dashboards can be an enormously powerful tool. They provide a summary of key information on one screen, such as what  your customers are doing, what they are buying, and how you interact and continue to work with them.

In a recent survey, more than half of senior-level marketers said their use of marketing analytics, such as dashboards, had not lived up to the expected return-on-investment. So why do some people seem to think sales dashboards are not as effective or useful as they expected?

A number of issues are at play here like confirmation bias and poor data. It’s also possible these organizations struggle with using the dashboards efficiently, or have overly complicated systems, or simply didn’t know how to leverage the data in the most useful way.

If used effectively and created using a data analytics solution, sales dashboards can — and should be — just as valuable and game-changing as ever. Here’s why:

Dashboards are easy to use

Dashboards are no longer complicated to navigate, with clunky interfaces and static data. Today’s sales dashboards are simple to use, making it easy to collate data and provide a visual representation of the big picture. Depending on the information you want at your fingertips, you can hand-pick the data that shows up on your screen.

That could be your quarterly or yearly Sales vs. Budget, your top 10 customers, profit margin per product, new contracts, closing calls, or any other pertinent information that could drive performance. The sales dashboard’s purpose is to automatically bring that data to life on one screen, so your salespeople can make data-driven decisions in a matter of minutes.

Prompt account management

Using a sales dashboard keeps your sales team focused on meeting their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and makes better use of their limited time. Based on the data in the dashboard, they can decide what they need to do next to manage their accounts and meet their sales goals.

With the proper training from the start, sales teams can eventually operate the system on their own — with no need for help from IT or other departments. Sales teams can use their dashboards to set goals as a team since the dashboard keeps them constantly informed on where they stand.

Insights into sales trends

Sales dashboards allow you to immediately see how your company’s sales are performing and drill down into the underlying data. For instance, if you see something strange in your sales data, dashboards allow you to investigate the issue quickly by “drill down” into the relevant data.

You could, for instance, view all of the metrics for each sales rep. Or, you can compare sales metrics from different time periods, such as Current vs. Previous Sales. That ability to pinpoint what’s affecting your sales figures can help you figure out your next course of action.

Real-time, dynamic insights drive performance

There’s nothing static about a sales dashboard anymore. Dashboards provide up-to-the-minute information and updates based on performance metrics – so you never have to worry that the data you’re working with is outdated.

That also ensures that everyone involved in decision-making has access to the most accurate and current information available. For sales reps, who are often on the road and juggling multiple accounts, it’s more important than ever for them to have access to data that reflects the current situation and business performance.

If created with a data analytics solution, a sales dashboard offers simple, accessible features and information that your sales team can immediately put to use. Of course, understanding these features and how to use them is important, too.

Equip your sales team with the training and skills they need to get the most out of the sales dashboard. They need to know why this works, how it works, and how it’ll make their jobs easier. Learn more about sales dashboards by contacting MCLOUD3 today!

Written by Phocas Software