One of the fastest-growing segments of cloud computing services is using business intelligence and analytics to help see what is happening at a company via numbers that were previously loose and not able to be put together in an orderly fashion. Joe McKendrick writes on Forbes that it is still in the early stage, but a survey from Saugatuck Technology said it could be growing very quickly.

The survey shows that 13 percent of companies are using cloud-based business intelligence and analytics at the end of last year, but that is poised to grow 84 percent per year over the next two years.

"BI and analytics -  whether on-premises or in the cloud - has long been the hottest area of software," McKendrick said on Forbes. "Even when the economy and IT spending are down, companies still keep spending on BI, because it helps provide data-driven clarity and some predictability in market trends, and therefore quickly pays for itself."

McKendrick said cloud computing services that work with analytics and data are able to be rapidly deployed, set up inexpensively and are very scalable, so they give a lot of the great advantages of the cloud to sets of business data. This should go a long way in helping a company figure some unique information out about themselves, their customers and the industry.