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Expert's opinion

The Value of Embedded Analytics

The BI landscape is continually evolving, and rapidly too. The transition from IT-driven BI delivery to self-service analytics continues at pace and is now enhanced by the latest major trend of embedded analytics.

The BI environment is no longer something separate from line of business systems. BI and advanced analytics are now being embedded within core operational systems with tangible benefits.

So says Barry Burdis, head of delivery at Keyrus, who presented on ‘The value of embedded analytics’, at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2020.

“Embedded BI is where BI is presented and used within a users natural workflow, within their operational systems. There is no need to toggle into a separate application to access BI,” he explains.

Speaking of the major drivers for considering embedded BI, he says firstly, it offers new commercial opportunities, or monetising data. “Organisations collect a lot of data in the course of normal operations. Traditionally this data set is often seen as the by-product of primary products and services and has not been leveraged as an asset itself. Many companies are now evaluating the data that they hold and are exploring ways of monetising these data sets.”

According to him, this can lead to new commercial opportunities that are either augmented by data products and services or new self-standing data products and services. “Companies require the right mix of technologies and skills to achieve this and embedded BI provides a unique capability to integrate data with operational processes.”

Next, he cites improved user experience. “Without embedded BI users access BI as a separate application. Because of this, users are often switching between applications and then trying to align filters to generate the same context in both applications. How many times have you struggled to run a BI report to look at the time period or same product grouping that you have in an operational system?”

He says embedded BI removes the need to switch between applications as they are shown alongside one another and presented as a single interface. This offers the user a much-improved experience. Also, the context of both application is aligned so the BI data that is displayed has the same context that data shown in the operational system.

Finally, there’s the benefit of increased user adoption of BI tools. “Embedded BI can improve user adoption in many ways. Users have an enhanced user experience by accessing BI with single sign-on and a single user interface – so no complicated logins and passwords to forget and one user interface to become familiar with.”

Moreover, Burdis says embedded BI is presented in context within the operational application and makes accessing data easier for users. “Because of the ease of use and access to the data, users are more inclined to interact with the BI and get value from what is presented. Embedding BI removes the mystical complexity out of BI and puts data in the hands of a wider audience. With some of the client solutions we have delivered, users may often not even be aware that they are consuming BI.”

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