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Business intelligence (BI) today is experiencing a great divide. On one side are standalone 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 standalone 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 Business Intelligence (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:
1. 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 standalone BI software.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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!
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