Business intelligence (BI) today is experiencing a great divide. On one side are stand-alone applications designed solely for business analytics, such as Tableau or Power BI. End users bring their data—which may come from many different sources—to the stand-alone application to perform analyses and gather BI. On the other side of the divide are applications with embedded analytics, which include the industry-leading customer relationship management application Salesforce. When BI is embedded into an application, analytics can be conducted within the application itself.
As a software vendor, you need to decide where to take your stand with regard to this divide. Will you keep BI separate from your application or will you embed BI within your application? As you make this decision, it is important to consider not just the business needs of your customers—such as having access to real-time dashboards and analytics—but also their IT needs. Put simply, your customers want software solutions to be simple, seamless, and secure. By embedding BI into your application, you can deliver exactly that because:
- Embedded BI can be deployed anywhere. Since embedded BI lives within the deployment environment, if a customer deploys your application on the cloud—whether public or private—the embedded BI is deployed with it. If the application is deployed on-premise, the embedded BI is on-premise, too. Embedded BI puts your customers in control since they can deploy your application as they wish, rather than being dictated to by the requirements of stand-alone BI software.
- Embedded BI makes switching easy. Switching environments is simplified for your customers since embedded BI is provider-neutral. Businesses can readily move from AWS to Google Cloud to Microsoft Azure as they desire, without affecting the embedded BI. This is very desirable, as your customers want the flexibility to move between cloud providers as their needs change.
- Embedded BI simplifies security. Embedded BI automatically operates with the same permissions as the rest of the application. Therefore, your customers do not need to involve IT and work through complex security, integration, and permission issues that take months to resolve—a definite plus in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment. Users who have access to the data in an application can visualize and analyze that data as well. They can readily create and share elegant dashboards with others to aid collaboration and support decision-making.
- Embedded BI supports compliance requirements. Embedded BI eliminates the difficulties encountered when data is bound up with regulatory or privacy considerations. For example, a hospital system may have all their data residing in on-premise servers. They cannot export that data to utilize a cloud-based standalone BI application without completing a laborious permission review process and determining how to anonymize the data and maintain patient privacy. With embedded BI, however, those legal and IT issues disappear. The data never has to leave the on-premise server, so security is not an issue. Users who have access to data can summarize, visualize, aggregate, filter, and slice and dice that data at will, without fear of compromising the security of the data.
Make BI easy for your customers to deploy, manage, and secure by embedding it within the enterprise applications you offer. Simplifying BI will give you—and your customers—a competitive edge in the marketplace!