Businesses need integrated data analysis tools if they want to make the most of their data. The data and analytics environment can be challenging to successfully navigate, and having the right supportive tools in place can help companies gain the insights they need to meet and exceed their business goals. Having the ability to make real-time decisions based on trusted analytics insights that are seamless, easy to read, and user-friendly, are the keys to the success of any organization. When we talk about embedded business intelligence (or embedded BI), we are also talking about embedded analytics. It enhances interpretive capabilities, solves targeted challenges, addresses risks, and offers real-time analytical solutions via modern dashboarding.
What Is Embedded Business Intelligence?
Basically, embedded BI adds features usually associated with BI software (data visualization, dashboard reporting, etc), to existing business applications. It combines analytics tools that are easy to use so that you can read data patterns in a simple way that makes sense to you.
Another definition could be the one provided by the independent research firm Gartner: “the use of reporting and analytics capabilities in transactional business applications”.
It differs from traditional business intelligence because of the context: embedded analytics are a set of capabilities that are integrated into systems already existing (CRMs, ERPs..) in order to improve it through better reporting, interactive dashboards, better data visualizations, etc. It is focused information to support decision-making or a specific action, in the context in which such decision-making or action takes place.
Depending on the embedded dashboard solution you choose, a lot of options are available: offering interactivity options (drill-down, zoom in, filter, …), delivering user-specific content while restricting access to further data more confidential, branding to your look and feels (or your customer’s), outsource the update and the maintenance of your dashboards, etc. Thanks to all this, you can create solutions, solve challenges, make predictions, bring value to your organization, and have the ability to reach your business goals.
Why Is Embedded BI Important?
The fact that BI applications and business process applications have different interfaces forces the users to switch all the time between them to glean insight or take action. And when users are forced to switch from app to app to analyze their data, they inevitably loose any efficiency they had gained with them.
Logi Analytics conducted a research on the state of analytics adoption, and found that 83% of respondents didn’t like to switch standalone analytics apps and would rather stay in one. The same research found that 93% of people within applications teams are using embedded analytics.
Why is it such a hot topic? Basically what it comes down to is that business users want their analytical-driven insights within their existing applications. They really don’t want to have to access separate programs to gain the analytical insights that they want and need. Embedded analytics are directly integrating intelligence inside the business process apps, so that users have a seamless experience and can generally be more productive: that’s a big advantage.
Let’s take a further look into how it is helping you and your business to function better in a technological and digital environment.
The Benefits of Embedded Analytics
It is appealing because it soothes the interaction between people and their data and analytics. Here is a list of some of the reasons why they are becoming increasingly popular:
Data and analytics can make up a very daunting environment. But embedding analytical tools inside the applications you’re using makes everything much less stressful. It puts people at ease and makes them more confident when it comes to deriving insights from data. When you already know how to use a certain software and you can just put other tools in there that can help you do your job better, it makes for a much better user experience.
Thanks to embedded business intelligence, you can improve your application’s reporting and give your customers better insights into the data you have collected for them. It is possible to white label or brand it with your logo/colours or your customer’s logo/colours, for an enhanced user experience.
A faster development process and less overall costs
BI deployments require a lot of time from planning to developing, and a lot of resources that could have been used for more important projects. Thanks to embedded analytics, the development time and speed-to-market is greatly reduced, and internal resources formerly assigned to custom-code apps, or create visualizations can focus on key internal needs and other tasks with a greater added-value.
Likewise, the maintenance and support costs are also minimal as you are not in charge of them. Users can continue benefitting from it with little to no assistance from internal developers. Besides, when you take into account the fact that these internal developers that could have custom-coded the app, are also usually the same people developing and maintaining the company’s website, sales and HR systems, accounts payable and receivable systems, etc, it clearly appears that all of these functions are also benefitting from keeping these internal resources to support them rather than creating reports and visualizations.
People spend more time with software
When you have spent a lot of time and money on the current applications that are helping to deliver information-based insights for your organization, you want everyone to be spending as much time as possible with those applications. When new analytical tools become available, you don’t want everyone to have to learn a new software. Because of this, people spend more time on applications that they already know. According to a survey, 84% of people say they are spending more time using software programs than on anything else.
Gain a competitive advantage
Having a third-party whose sole business and entire work is dedicated to developing a cutting-edge analytics technology is not only a gain of time and money, but an advantage in terms of quality. While your internal resources will have to deal with many other requests and needs, benefitting of the work of a company focusing only on business users needs will be a great asset.
It promotes better decision-making
Having further access to analytical capabilities within existing applications gives business users the ability to derive more intelligent insights from their data. Whether you are addressing business challenges, creating opportunities within your organization, or developing solutions that will further the success of your business, embedded analytics helps you have access to the data that will lead you to give the results you need.
Teamwork across departments
When analytical data is at your fingertips and available for everyone to use, it starts to create a business environment where insights and decisions are buzzing across all departments and teams within your organization. It is easy to see how embedded business intelligence is paving the way for the future success of organizations. Plain and simple: it makes it easy for people in a business to make use of analytical tools, hence foster a dashboard culture – but also encourages people to get down to the data-driven insights they need for creating solutions, managing risks, and solving challenges within their organizations.
For now, we need to take a look at some real examples and see how real businesses are using it to bring value to their organizations.
Embedded Business Intelligence Examples
Now that we’ve discussed it in a generalized way, we should take a more specific look into the areas of businesses that are using it, and the results that have come from it.
Embedded analytics for sales departments
You are going to have a lot more opportunities to make sales with customers by using embedded BI. Using a customer relationship management software like SugarCRM or Salesforce is a great way to collect data on your customers as well as on your sales reps, from which you can learn. But having a means to analyze and visualize this data in a meaningful way is even better: it helps you create interactive dashboards and reports that will deliver the right information in a comprehensible way, right in your already-set business app.
Hereafter is a sales dashboard detailing the sales cycle length step by step, and the performance of different sales managers when it comes to turn a lead into a deal. Now you can easily make sense of that data in a visually comprehensible way.
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Embedded analytics for healthcare
The healthcare sector is one particularly flooded with data, but that has very little time to deal with it. The integration of software into the hospitals’ daily processes has only been introduced recently; doctors, nurses and other practitioners do not always have the technical IT background to deal with several different ones as they have been trained for caring and curing. They do not have much time nor energy to invest in learning everyday a new software to handle. Regulatory frameworks however have generated the need for reporting and analytics – so they cannot escape that duty. And that is where embedded BI steps in: while using the same software collecting patients’ data, healthcare professionals have the possibility to generate meaningful reports and dashboards that are crucial to run their facility smoothly.
Hereafter is a hospital KPI dashboard that can be of a great help in the efficient management of your facility. It indeed helps in identifying where there are potential bottlenecks and in outlining the kind of trends happening over time, so that you can adapt the assignment of resources.
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A real-time decision driver
Embedded BI has real-world applications that you can see are directly impacting organizations in these examples. It can help coordinate workflows, accurately log hours for employees, help with labor deployment, and much more. It is really easy to see how it is not only great for your organization but also a necessity at this point for any modern business.
Embedded business intelligence allows businesses to make better, real-time data-driven decisions across departments and teams. Being an IT expert or reading code is no longer required to make sense of data and use it to develop informed decision-making that impacts your organization across a variety of spectrums.
With embedded analytics, there is a user-friendly way to read data patterns, and further promote better decision-making so that everyone can get back to work doing what they do best, and at the same time, read data and analytical-based information easily and apply that knowledge to create solutions, solve challenges, and manage risks within your organization.