Building Business Intelligence Platform? Embedded BI At Your Service
Powerful Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities are a great competitive advantage for almost any company.
The problem is that there is often a long and challenging road between wanting an effective BI platform and having an effective BI platform.
In the real world, companies often struggle with setting up a solution that would satisfy their analytical and reporting needs. In this article we will briefly cover some of the paths that can be taken to solve the above-named problem, concentrating specifically on what embedded BI offers in this regard.
There is a variety of BI options on the market to choose from, but it can be hard to find the right balance between the simplicity and performance when choosing the product that would best fit your company’s needs.
On the one hand, it is almost unfeasible to conduct a robust BI analysis using just one simple out-of-the-box tools. As the data reporting requirements are constantly growing, such unsophisticated tools are no longer capable of meeting the demands of the market.
On the other hand, companies aren’t always ready to rely on self-contained BI platforms developed by third-party vendors. While such comprehensive platforms can be powerful and often provide a variety of features, they can be too complicated for the end-user, and only offer a limited level of flexibility. This can be a stumbling block for companies that want to have an end-product really “fine-tuned” for their specific needs. They can be too expensive as well, containing features that your company doesn’t even need. (Nobody wants to pay for something they have no intention to use.)
For these reasons, more and more companies choose to develop their own proprietary platforms and then integrate third-party reporting components into them.
Such standalone components are called embedded BI. Unlike full-blown BI platforms, they are designed to perform just one task, such as data collection, data processing, charting, mapping, data exporting etc.
By using embedded BI solutions, the companies take the best of both worlds:
- they have the benefits of using their own platform, built with consistent design language and business logic in mind;
- have a freedom to choose a set of additional BI components to expand the functionality of their system.
But why can’t a company develop both the platform and all the required BI components by itself? In short, one of the main reasons is that the requirements for such software are so high that the financial and timely costs of developing a truly robust application will dramatically outweigh the benefits.
Let us have a closer look at some benefits that embedded BI offers as compared to in-house development.
- Performance. Because the vendors can concentrate on developing only one application, they are able to invest a lot of resources into making their product perform really well. This is something that the companies often are not in a position to accomplish due to the lack of technical expertise and resources.
- Reliability. Companies that develop embedded BI components are privileged to have their software tested in a variety of real-world scenarios. The more customers the vendor has, the more feedback and bug-reports regarding the application’s behavior he receives. This allows the vendor to release a stable and reliable product.
- Maintenance. To remain competitive on the market, the vendors are interested in releasing upgrades and updates to their software. This can include the addition of new features, adjusting the software to the modern web-development trends, expanding the compatibility of the application with other technologies, data sources etc. Again, most companies lack the required resources to adequately maintain their in-house developed product for a substantial period of time.
These are the areas where embedded BI shines as compared to in-house development. But there are some potential problems of taking the embedded BI path as well. Some of the things that should be considered when choosing an embedded BI solution are technical compatibility, scalability, security compliance, visual customizability, and integration simplicity. It surely takes some time to evaluate and compare your options, but it will be worth the effort. Most of the vendors offer a trial version to test their software, so make sure you use this option before making a decision.
In this article we have covered some high-level basics of embedded BI. In particular, there are some important benefits of choosing third-party embedded BI components over performing all the development in-house. Software vendors often have more knowledge, more manpower, and more experience in the field, which simply helps them make better products. Using embedded BI tools can greatly help your company quickly build a robust analytical and reporting platform.
Speaking of specific embedded BI solutions, Flexmonster Pivot Table & Charts is a great example of the software that includes all the benefits of embedded BI and at the same tackles potential drawbacks we also mentioned. Specifically, it combines the pivot grid and charting features. You can download a fully-functional 30-day trial and see yourself how Flexmonster can add value to your product.
Further blog posts are on the way, so stay tuned!