BI Trends

The Basics of Embedded BI: Five Common Mistakes to Avoid

By Michelle Gardner
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Business intelligence (BI) has been top of mind for everyone from commercial software companies to internal IT departments for many years. But traditionally, these analytics tools have existed as standalone solutions and have struggled to gain user adoption.

Embedded BI tools solve this problem by putting dashboards and analytics in the applications people already use and love. By embedding analytics in native BI applications, application teams give customers access to insights inside tools they already use, ensuring customer workflows are not interrupted.

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Benefits of Building An Application with Embedded BI

That’s one reason over 90 percent of application teams are already embedding some form of analytics in their products, according to the 2017 State of Embedded Analytics Report. As application teams continue to turn to embedded BI tools, they have seen a slew of concrete benefits—including stickier applications, better user adoption, and ultimately higher sales and renewals.

Of course, not all embedded analytics solutions are created equal. If your application team is building an application with embedded BI, avoid these common mistakes to ensure your embedded BI reporting is successful.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Embedded BI Tools

Mistake #1: Forgetting Your Users

Software development teams may think they know their users inside and out, but designing effective embedded BI applications has often been an afterthought. Understanding your business intelligence users—their daily workflows, requirements, and levels of data access—is crucial to designing an effective UX that provides maximum value for your application. Study your personas and get to know your users.

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Mistake #2: Not Matching Capabilities to Roles

Do your users need customizable embedded BI dashboards? Interactive embedded reporting? Easy export capability? The answers to these questions should dictate the way you build your embedded BI application. Matching reporting capabilities to users’ roles helps users see that embedded BI tools have the ability to positively impact productivity—which ultimately means that adoption soars.

Mistake #3: Leaving Security as an Afterthought

Part of customizing your embedded BI tool is ensuring that users see all the data they need, but not more information than they require. Managing rights, roles, and permissions should always be a consideration as you think about how to embed analytics into your application. Many legacy BI applications force you to synchronize profiles and replicate your security framework in the analytics instance, which can severely complicate BI security. Look for an analytics platform that integrates with your existing security framework to avoid time-consuming and costly rework.

Mistake #4: Inconsistent Branding

Maintaining a consistent look and feel between embedded BI and the rest of your application is critical to delivering a user experience that will keep customers coming back. Modern analytics and BI capabilities give you the ability to white label analytics, ensuring a seamless experience for your end users.

Mistake #5: Failing to Weigh Your Build vs. Buy Options Carefully

When considering embedded BI in your application, the first instinct for many application teams is to build exactly what they want with the help of open-source code libraries and charting components. But the build approach means committing significant resources in development, support, and maintenance. That’s why many companies prefer to partner with a third-party analytics development platform, which serves as the foundation for customizable embedded BI dashboards and reporting tools. An embedded BI platform can shorten the development cycle and provide flexibility for development teams looking to take their embedded BI to the next level. Additionally, a platform shifts the onus of supporting cutting edge features away from the BI application team, freeing internal development and IT resources up to innovate and improve their core product.

Ensuring Your Embedded BI Solution is a Success

It’s easy to fall into the pitfall of creating embedded analytics for the sake of creating embedded analytics. By understanding your users, your users’ roles, and user security, you can ensure that users’ needs are met. In addition, user retention can increase by adding branding and making sure users truly enjoy using your embedded BI.  Get more ideas and best practices for embedded BI in the ebook: 10 Best Practices in Embedded Analytics or if you’d like to see our embedded analytics platform in action, you can see a demo here!


Originally published July 6, 2017; updated on July 25th, 2018

About the Author

Michelle Gardner is the Director of Corporate Marketing & Communications at Logi Analytics. She has over a decade of experience writing and editing content, with a specialty in software and technology.