In the world of data-driven decision-making, dashboards have become a crucial tool for businesses to visualize and interpret their data effectively. Whether it’s an embedded or custom-built BI solution, dashboards offer real-time insights that help organizations make informed decisions. However, the choice between an embedded BI solution and a custom-built one can significantly impact the effectiveness of data interpretation and overall business performance. Understanding the implications of this decision can help businesses select the right type of dashboarding solution that aligns with their specific objectives, budget, technical capacity, and data analysis needs.
This article will compare the advantages and disadvantages of custom-built and embedded BI, the challenges in each, the benefits of embedded, and more.
Custom-built BI vs. embedded BI: an overview
Custom-built BI and embedded BI are two different solutions for data visualization, each with its own unique features and benefits. Let’s see what they are:
Custom-built BI dashboards are designed and developed specifically for a particular user or organization. These dashboards can be adjusted to meet the user’s specific requirements, particularly in areas such as data sources, metrics, and visualizations.
When to choose a custom-built dashboard
- When you have unique data requirements.
- When you need a high level of customization, tailored to your specific workflows and processes.
- When you have specific security requirements.
Embedded BI dashboards are dashboards that are integrated into existing applications or websites. This allows users and businesses to access and interact with data without having to leave the application or website they are already using.
When to use an embedded dashboard
- When you need a dashboard to track data from a specific application or website.
- When you need a dashboard that is easy to implement and cost-effective.
- When you need a dashboard that can be easily integrated with your existing applications.
The following table is a deeper overview of the features of custom-built BI versus embedded BI:
|Offers predefined features; may not meet all business needs.
|Tailored to specific business metrics and visualizations.
|Limited branding and style options; adheres to standard design.
|Provides extensive customization to align with business branding and style.
|Ease of Implementation
|Generally easier to implement; prebuilt.
|Requires development from scratch.
|Usually cheaper due to provider development and subscription-based purchase.
|Potentially costly in-house or provider development.
|Time to Implement
|Usually quicker to implement due to prebuilt nature.
|Longer implementation time.
|Easy access to data within existing workflows.
|High customization and specific business requirements.
Why an embedded BI solution is better than a custom-built BI solution
Overall, users often find embedded BI solutions are less challenging to integrate than custom-built BI dashboards. Some of the reasons include:
Faster time to market
Embedded BI solutions are typically prebuilt and ready to use, so you can get them up and running quickly and easily. This can be a significant advantage if you need to get your data and analytics to users fast.
Reduced development risk
Embedded BI solutions are developed and maintained by external users, which means that you do not have to bear the risk of developing the solution yourself. This can be a significant benefit, especially if you do not have the in-house expertise to develop a custom-built BI solution.
Access to innovation
Embedded dashboard providers are constantly innovating and adding new features to their solutions. This allows users to leverage the latest dashboard technology advancements without the need to invest in their own development team, including features such as real-time data streaming, interactive visualizations, and high-end analytics capabilities.
Reduced development and maintenance costs
Embedding a dashboard from a provider can significantly reduce the development and maintenance costs associated with building and maintaining a custom-built solution. The provider will be responsible for ensuring that the embedded dashboard is always up-to-date and secure, freeing up your IT team to focus on other tasks. This means developing a custom BI tool can be more expensive up front due to development costs. However, embedded solutions are not free—they often have subscription fees.
Improved scalability and performance
Embedded dashboards, hosted on the provider’s infrastructure, offer the flexibility of scaling up or down as needed without the burden of server management. Providers also typically invest heavily in performance optimization, ensuring your embedded dashboard can handle high-demand workloads.
Consistency in design and functionality
Embedded BI solutions provide a consistent design and functionality, which are crucial when different departments or users within an organization use the dashboard. On the other hand, custom-built BI solutions require manual intervention to cater to your specific needs.
Embedded solutions usually come with prebuilt integrations with other software and systems, simplifying data centralization. Embedded solutions allow you to focus on a single system at a time, whereas custom-built solutions depend entirely on what the business’s development team is capable of.
Factors to consider when choosing an embedded solution
When choosing an embedded BI solution for data visualization needs, consider the following:
- Target platform and hardware: The embedded tool must be compatible with the target platform and hardware of your device. This includes the CPU, memory, and peripherals.
- Features and functionality: The embedded tool must provide the features and functionality that you need to analyze business data effectively. This may include features such as data integration, data filtering and drill-down, drag-and-drop designers, and more.
- Budget and time constraints: The implementation of the embedded tool must be within your time constraints and fit your budget.
- Support and documentation: The embedded tool provider should offer a quality level of support and documentation. This is important in case you need help using the tool or troubleshooting problems.
The choice between custom-built and embedded BI solutions hinges on your organization’s specific needs, expertise, and resources. Let’s examine the effectiveness of one organization’s use case of embedded analytics in the following section.
Successful use case of embedded analytics in an organization
Embedding a BI solution in an organization enhances data-driven decision-making and improves operational efficiency. This helps operational managers meet their daily targets and demonstrates the solution’s high return on investment.
One example of a successful use case of embedded analytics is a sales analytics application that helps organizations achieve their sales goals and enhance customer satisfaction, which leads to increased business revenue.
The following dashboard shows an embedded sales analytics dashboard:
Embedded analytics in sales enhances real-time data tracking and analysis, improving decision-making and forecasting. It helps sales teams identify trends and opportunities, plus boost customer engagement and targeting. Integrating analytics into sales tools streamlines operations, increases productivity, and drives revenue growth, giving the business a competitive edge in the market.
Embedded BI solution with Bold BI
Bold BI’s embedded BI solution provides businesses with intuitive, powerful analytics tools without disrupting operations. Users can view and interact with data and derive insights directly within their daily applications. This is particularly useful for businesses that want to provide data analytics capabilities to their customers without requiring them to switch between different platforms.
To wrap up
Embedding dashboards is more efficient and cost-effective than custom building. It offers a quicker, more flexible solution for data visualization, enabling better decision-making without requiring extensive coding or IT resources.