It’s no secret that an ever-increasing number of companies are embracing embedded analytics. We’ve seen this trend in Logi’s own surveys, and we’re seeing it from third parties as well—most recently, in the Dresner Advisory Services Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.
In the Dresner study, the once sizable group of respondents who classified embedded BI as “not important” has dropped significantly since 2013. The question is: Why are these companies just now starting to take notice?
To find out, we recently hosted a webinar featuring Howard Dresner, Chief Research Officer of Drenser Advisory Services. He talked about the growth of embedded BI and answered questions about what BI buyers need to know.
Why are companies and their users finding embedded BI more important today versus in prior years?
Howard Dresner: Thirty-eight percent of respondents say they’re using embedded BI today, and another 35 percent expect to use it within the next 12 months. That suggests that embedded business intelligence is becoming much more mainstream. You only have 8 percent who have no plans whatsoever of implementing embedded BI.
Education is a big part of why people are using embedded BI. They see analytics helping to drive better decision-making and giving them the insights to be more competitive. But also, adoption in 2016 expanded because of the ease of embedding BI into the applications that companies are already using on a daily basis. It’s a combination of education [of users themselves] and the ease of using the technology that is contributing to this growth.
Do you see any differences in adoption, in terms of company size, of the companies that are using embedded BI?
H.D.: The findings show that across all different-sized organizations there is a very strong intent to deliver embedded business intelligence. However, size is certainly a factor that affects a company’s decision to invest in BI in one or more functional areas (HR, sales and marketing, finance, etc). Larger companies don’t move as quickly as smaller companies in their adoption of new technologies, but larger companies are keenly interested in embedded BI. The more eyes on the data means a greater ability to make informed business decisions and penetrate the market more profoundly.
Small companies, as the data shows, are aggressively adopting embedded BI to gain a competitive edge and operate more nimbly in the marketplace. The trend trails off a bit for mid-size companies (101 to 5,000 employees). These companies clearly display the intention to use embedded business intelligence, but they don’t have the resources of a large organization or the agility of a small organization.
What functional areas in an organization are using embedded BI, according to your findings?
H.D.: Typically, we see that R&D (research and development) groups are the early adopters of technology. However, embedded BI is starting to show up within other functions as either widely used or planning to be used. A great example is an HR portal, where employees are logging in to see analytics on their benefits—and sales and marketing are using it to get analytics about customers to inform marketing and business development efforts.
There’s also a shift with executive management, who have historically been especially bullish in using embedded BI because it drives that notion of what I call “information democracy.” However, any forward-thinking executive clearly wants employees to be as informed as possible when making decisions within the organization.
It is also a great way to align people with the organizational strategy and the mission. If everybody has timely and relevant information, you’re empowering the whole organization. Embedded BI gives companies the ability to behave as more of a single entity than they could without that information.
Do you have any suggestions for companies, particularly mid-size ones, that are either looking to kick off an analytics initiative in the embedded space?
H.D.: I think implementing embedded business intelligence is a great way of finding the value of it. The cost associated with doing it is relatively modest. A company can start using embedded BI in the context of what their employees are already doing, as opposed to engaging in a lot of training or building a new application or tool.
There can be some “quick wins” by embedding BI into some of the day-to-day operations, informing those activities, and getting a better perspective. When you are informing your efforts, it allows you to go back and discuss what can be done in the future.