What is Embedded Business Intelligence (BI)?

What is Embedded Business Intelligence (BI)?

In the vast landscape of data-related terminologies, terms like business intelligence, data analytics, and data visualization often blend together. However, each of these has its unique nuances and applications. In this article, we delve into the world of embedded business intelligence, a newcomer in the realm of BI.

What Exactly is Embedded Business Intelligence?

Embedded business intelligence refers to the process of seamlessly integrating analytics capabilities into existing business applications. These applications could range from SaaS products to web applications or any cloud-based portal. Essentially, embedded BI empowers product users with easy access to valuable information, enabling them to make informed decisions.

While traditional business intelligence encompasses the entire data supply chain, including data connection, modeling, and visualization, embedded BI stands out in the domain of data visualization. Furthermore, embedded BI extends beyond data visualization by offering self-service BI analytics directly within daily-used apps and platforms, such as marketing tools, accounting programs, or cash register systems. Users can effortlessly create reports, engage deeply with data, and stay updated on trends, all through an intuitive web-based interface.

Why is Embedded BI a Game Changer?

Think of embedded business intelligence as the control center for your software product. Similar to the dashboard in your car that displays your speed, fuel level, and alerts, embedded BI provides crucial insights for confident decision-making within your applications. Without this control center, making informed business decisions becomes slower and less efficient, as users often need to switch between their work apps and dedicated reporting tools.

In contrast, traditional BI tools are often complex and require technical expertise, making them less accessible to non-technical users. Creating reports with traditional BI can be time-consuming, and the end users may not even be involved in the process. This inefficiency can lead to lengthy delays in making critical decisions. Embedded BI, with its intuitive visualization and user-friendly tools, eliminates these bottlenecks, allowing business users to independently explore data and make faster decisions.

Benefits of Embedded BI for SaaS Products

SaaS product builders can reap numerous advantages from incorporating embedded business intelligence:

  1. Enriched Product: By adding BI capabilities, SaaS products become more feature-complete and seamlessly integrated into the overall user experience.
  2. Time Savings: Off-the-shelf embedded BI solutions are quick to install compared to in-house development, saving valuable time.
  3. Increased User Engagement: Users no longer need to leave their favorite software applications to access insights, increasing platform usage and loyalty.
  4. Monetization: Enhanced BI features can be upsold to customers or sold as add-ons, creating new revenue streams.

Benefits for Product Users

Product users also benefit from embedded BI:

  1. Intuitive Exploration: Non-technical users can easily explore and analyze their data with a user-friendly interface, eliminating the need for advanced technical skills.
  2. Integrated Experience: Insights are readily available within their preferred applications, aligning with their existing workflows.
  3. Self-Service: Business users can perform self-service analytics, reducing their reliance on data experts and increasing their independence in decision-making.
  4. Better Decision-Making: With transparent access to data, users feel more empowered and confident when making decisions.
Team work, work colleagues, working together
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Capabilities of Embedded BI

Embedded BI stands out due to its unique capabilities:

  1. Seamless Integration: Embedded BI seamlessly integrates with the look and feel of any software product or web app.
  2. Highly Interactive: Users can interact with business data through filters, drilldowns, and smart action triggers, managing relevant KPIs and metrics.
  3. Ad-Hoc Reporting: Users can create and save their own interactive reports and dashboards with simple drag-and-drop actions.
  4. Real-Time Notifications: Receive alerts for important data changes or outliers, reducing response time to incidents or opportunities.
  5. Multitenant Analytics: Scale BI to thousands of users with ease, showing each user only the data, they are authorized to access.
  6. Predictive Analytics: Some embedded BI tools offer predictive capabilities based on historical data.
  7. Adaptive Reports: Embedded BI adapts to different languages, time zones, currencies, and devices, catering to global business users.
  8. Connectivity: These tools can connect to a wide range of data sources, including proprietary data sources and APIs.

Misconceptions About Embedded BI Software

Despite its benefits, some product and engineering teams hesitate to adopt embedded BI software due to misconceptions, such as concerns about low-code limitations, lack of control over features, incompatibility with existing tech stacks, and a belief that in-house development is superior. However, these misconceptions can delay analytics development and lead to technical debt.

Choosing the Right Embedded BI Software

Selecting the right embedded BI software is crucial. While comparison sites like G2 are a starting point, not every tool specializes in embedded BI. Tools like Tableau, Domo, or Microsoft Power BI, while offering embedding capabilities, primarily focus on traditional BI, which may not suit non-technical users.

To make an informed choice, consider starting free trials and exploring vendors' websites to assess their capabilities. Create a vendor comparison matrix to objectively compare embedded BI solutions.

Getting Started with Embedded BI

Building BI features for your SaaS product is an exciting journey. To set yourself up for success, explore resources like embedded BI courses, whitepapers, and case studies. For a hands-on experience, try a free trial of embedded BI software or request a product demo from experts.

Explore the power of embedded business intelligence and revolutionize your data-driven decision-making processes with ease.

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Stay tuned for more insights and updates from the world of business intelligence.