Cloud Expo Europe is one of the bigger events in the UK focusing on cloud technologies, applications and services that are available in the market today. Over the course of two days, this year’s event attracted around 5,000 attendees which is an impressive number by any account.

From the conversations I had at the event, there were a few things that struck me so I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts with you:

– Cloud BI is getting taken up, and taken much more seriously. For some this was due to frustration with how long it can take to get new projects up and running on traditional BI platforms. This is not to do with lack of effort on the IT, business analyst or line of business teams involved; more it seemed to be a general frustration with the lack of agility.

– The Gartner Magic Quadrant on BI is a big deal. This year, Birst was named as a Challenger within the report, which is exciting. Almost everyone we spoke to was aware of the report, and was eager to discuss what was happening in the industry. While some sectors have Magic Quadrants that are viewed as “nice to haves,” the BI sector is not one of them.

– BI is actually a very dynamic sector – not something you would expect for a technology market that has existed for more than 20 years. Cloud, data visualization and how analytics could be applied to specific business issues like sales or operations activities were hot topics on the stand.

Those attendees that we spoke to were looking seriously at how they could adopt cloud within their organisations. Moving BI into the cloud – either as a standalone solution or as part of a hybrid approach – was being discussed as live projects, rather than potential options.

I’d argue that this is actually slightly ahead of the analyst predictions. Going back to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the team responsible for that report in 2013 stated that cloud BI would hit the mainstream after around two years had passed. This prediction put 2015 as the year that moves to cloud would seriously take off.

From the conversations I had, I’d argue that customers are ahead of that curve. This will lead to many more companies taking up cloud BI in 2014 instead, for reasons of agility, speed and flexibility when it comes to analytics.

Birst is moving at a rapid pace – staying ahead of the technology innovation curve and therefore able to meet the needs of our increasingly large set of customers. Did you attend the Cloud Expo? I would love to hear your thoughts on what your takeaways were from this year’s event and whether you agree with what we are seeing in the market.