2021 is shaping up to be a year of growth for many organizations. As businesses look to either restart initiatives that were put on hold or ramp up their current efforts, the need for embedded reporting and analytics has never been higher.
For many software companies, 2021 is the year they finally begin their BI journey. After all, if delivering reporting and analytics to your customers isn’t on your product roadmap, it should be.
Why? It’s likely your competitors have already done so. While traditional Business Intelligence platforms are much more common, they’re currently being shelved in favor of embedded reporting tools.
Embedded reporting tools vs BI reporting tools
Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-driven process for analyzing data and presenting actionable information to make informed business decisions. Businesses use BI to identify gaps and opportunities in their operations as well as to monitor business needs in real-time in order to react quickly to a changing environment.
Embedded reporting refers to integrating those Business Intelligence tools such as dashboards and reports natively into your software application. With an embedded reporting tool, end users can access critical reports and dashboards – as well as create their own – as part of their daily workflow.
With an effective embedded reporting tool, you can improve the decision-making process across departments and executives to improve the strategic management processes.
How to Deploy Embedded Reporting
Build vs Buy
Building an embedded reporting solution is taking on a new project and with that comes risk. Few software teams have developers on staff who are experienced with this specialty. They may have experience in pulling together a homegrown solution using free tools that came with their technology infrastructure. But developing a robust embedded reporting tool is a time-consuming (and expensive) project.
When doing a business analysis between purchasing new software functionality or “building” it in house, the decision typically comes down to three criteria:
- Current hard costs
- Opportunity lost costs
- Core competency
This is what will it cost you to pay your developers (and for how long) versus making a purchase of the same or better functionality. As an example, using a complete enterprise-scale embedded reporting solution, let’s assume:
Two developers’ salary including benefits for six months: $91,800 (two developers x $45,900 for six months). It’s not a good practice to put all development of a single strategic project with one developer. This $91,800 in development cost does not take into account the $91,800 in development costs not being applied to the company’s core product.
Opportunity lost costs
This is the amount of sales revenue lost from customer defection wanting enterprise embedded reporting functionality and new deals lost to the competition because of the lack of this functionality. It also includes unknown opportunity lost costs.
With the lack of available time and resources, it is now believed that most new customers do 75% of their research for a new product before even contacting a potential new vendor. If the prospect comes to your web site and does not see what the functionality they are looking for, they can leave your site without your ever knowing. Depending on your products price point, this lost revenue can be substantial.
This is really doing what you do best. Most software organizations cater to a specific vertical market. With success they become a leader because of their expertise in that market, be it healthcare, financial services, logistics, building, etc.
When going through the Build vs Buy analysis, an essential question to ask is, Can we allocate enough resources who have the expertise in creating reporting systems, to produce a world-class product which will put us (or keep us) ahead of our competition?
Buying Self-Service BI Solution Returns Benefits
The most significant reason to integrate an embedded reporting tool into your application from a sales and features perspective is that business users can create, customize and consume without having to leave a familiar environment they know how to use.
For a software organization’s consideration, one of the main benefits of embedded BI is the speed and ease of adoption and deployment. So integrating a self-service embedded BI solution into your application puts business users in the driver’s seat for data insight quickly.
What are some embedded reporting tools?
Popular embedded reporting tools in 2021 include:
- Yellowfin BI
The Six Main Benefits to Implementing an Embedded Reporting Tool in 2021
An effective embedded reporting tool can improve the flow of important processes in your organization by improving its visibility. With this view, you can quickly assess your organization’s processes and identify areas for improvement – all without leaving the application. This not only saves time and improves productivity, but it also gives you better control over your business environment.
Turn Data Into Actionable Information
The right embedded reporting tool can provide you with valuable insights to make successful strategies for your business. By identifying key trends and patterns in your data, you can find connections between areas of your business and enhance your ability to find new opportunities more easily.
Embedded reporting tools help your business’s departments become more aligned and work together with more confidence. With the most current data at your disposal, you get the peace of mind of knowing that your employees are coming up with integrated solutions to your business’s biggest challenges.
Alongside alignment, efficiency is everything for a business. Embedded reporting tools can improve efficiency, extension, and productivity by sharing information across departments. This enables you to save time on different processes and reduces duplication of different roles within your organization.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Embedded reporting tools can be used to gain insights your business performance, which can be used to strengthen your ability to make smart decisions and gain an edge over the competition. From markets and industry benchmarks to your own business’s performance, you can use this information to predict and adapt to customer preferences and market trends.
Consolidation of Data
With multiple large data sets, it can be difficult to consolidate your data and get a holistic view of your customer information. With an embedded reporting tool, you can consolidate data from multiple sources and decrease the time you typically spend analyzing disparate data sets, giving you the advantage of quick, actionable insights. This will significantly improve your bottom line.
How to Choose the Right Embedded Reporting Tools?
Despite what many embedded BI vendors may say, there is no “one-size-fits-all” platform that works for every use case. The best embedded reporting tool for your organization may not be the best option for another organization.
However, there are a few must-have features for embedded reporting tools that you should look for when choosing the right tool for your organization.
The ability to integrate embedded reporting tools seamlessly into your existing reporting processes is a considerable advantage to your business. This helps you use your existing data to its fullest for data-driven insights, as well as to smooth the transition to your new platform.
In order to achieve this, your embedded BI solution should have analytics tools that are compatible with the existing data sources in your organization, whatever they may be. Ideally, you can find an embedded BI provider that does much of this work for you, extracting data from disparate sources, tailoring the format and offering it in a front-end reporting tool.
This all needs to be done with the same level of security, however. Security is paramount for many businesses looking to invest in new BI solutions since business-critical data contains sensitive information like customer records and product pricing. Your BI provider should have security provisions that are extensive and that allow control of internal security with access control and user permissions, so you can be sure your users only see the data they need.
Static information doesn’t provide users with much insight into data. Embedded BI solutions are often equipped with filters, drop-downs and search functions that allow users to find the information they need quickly and easily, ensuring optimal usability.
These insights need to be useful for individuals or teams within the organization, which is where data visualization can help. These charts, dashboards, gauges, and graphs can illustrate the messages and insights within the data to present information to the organization in an easily digestible format.
IT burden is a concern with traditional BI systems, especially in larger organizations. Generally, only IT users with experience were given access to operate such complex systems.
Fortunately, self-service platforms offer a solution to this problem, offering access to these features by democratizing access across the business and varying user levels. This is achieved through simple, user-friendly interfaces that are tailored to different experiences and skill levels for different users.
If you have a diverse range of users who will need to use your embedded BI solution effectively, without pushing tasks onto the IT department, it’s important to find a self-service solution that empowers your users and gives them the tools they need for success.
Modern business is no longer centralized. Many organizations spread their network across different users on a national, international or global network, all of which may need access to the data analysis tools from your embedded BI solution. As a result, the ability to access business-critical reports, analyses and dashboards is a highly desirable feature for BI software.
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other platforms are becoming more prevalent, so business applications need to be adapted for different devices to allow access to global users. Your embedded BI solution needs to be mobile-friendly and accessible to anyone within this network with an internet connection, while still providing the full range of tools, capabilities, and security.