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Business intelligence (BI) is a term quite familiar to businesses that are data driven and monitor their data to gain actionable data insights for improving their performance. The key performing indicators help businesses to focus on areas to improve and take the business forward to new heights. These KPIs can be understood and monitored using the Business intelligence software.
Business Intelligence softwares usually provide data analysts a number of power packed features for performing data analytics and data visualization. Business intelligence softwares are available in the software markets in two different ways. The traditional BI software is a standalone software that works as a separate entity from the existing business software. Embedded BI software are now getting more popular in business industry as they can integrate with the existing business environment to generate charts and reports for data analyst. Both these solutions have their advantages and benefits. In this article, we would study these types carefully and help data analysts make the right decision when choosing Business Intelligence software for their business.
What is BI?
Business intelligence aims to use the big data available to business to identify data trends and patterns and inform data analysts about performance of business in the market. The data trends are identified based on the historical data collected over the years. This big data when studied properly can give valuable information about the good and bad practices that a business might have and help management improve their business strategies to increase revenue and create customer retention.
What is Standalone BI Software
Standalone business intelligence is the traditional BI software that helps data analysts perform big data analytics for a business. Usually, businesses would evaluate their data needs and purchase a business intelligence solution that would help data analysts to study data in more detail as compared to the basic reporting facilities provided by the business database management software. Standalone business intelligence often offers powerful features to manipulate data and present big data in a form more understandable by data analysts to reach conclusions and convince top management about the prospective ways to follow to improve business performance.
Standalone Business intelligence softwares have a lot of advantages if the organization is ready to invest a lot of time and money to make their business approach data driven and derive actionable insights from the big data that is accumulated overtime. Business intelligence softwares usually link to multiple data sources across the organization to assemble, aggregate and organize data in a compatible format and make it available for big data analytics. The features data visualizations, data dashboards, data querying and predictive analysis can be performed on the data to help management make informed and timely decisions about business matters confidently.
The disadvantage of standalone BI tools is the overhead to purchase and maintain hardware and software for business intelligence separately from the existing business software. There would be need to spend time on staff training and support as they need time to learn and adapt to the unfamiliar environment and it may be daunting for users to learn another software if the staff is non-technical.
Another disadvantage may be compatibility of data as data needs to be transferred from multiple data sources across the organization and there may be compatibility issues if all data received are in different formats. Identifying relation between data entities and mapping data from different sources to maintain compatible format may be required. Data security and access controls are also needed to be defined separately and cannot be adopted from the existing software making the safety protocols a concern in such situation.
What is Embedded BI
Embedded BI is the alternate solution for businesses if they don’t want the hassle of a separate software to handle their data while needing more variety in their data reporting and analytics. Embedded business intelligence software is directly integrated into the existing business environment and hold a whole lot of advantage over the traditional BI softwares available in the market.
Embedded Business intelligence softwares provide data analysts to perform big data analytics and offer features similar and sometimes more attractive than their traditional Bi competitors. Embedded business intelligence softwares usually utilize the cloud storage for performing their backend activity and embed the front end directly within the database management software.
“The human side of analytics is the biggest challenge to implementing big data.” – Paul Gibbons, author of “The Science of Successful Organizational Change.”
Embedded business intelligence softwares are rapidly taking over the market and enjoying special attention from businesses because they have a number of advantages over traditional BI solutions. When implementing embedded BI solution, the software is directly embedded in the existing business environment. This eliminates the need for separate Hardware servers and cuts down significantly the implementation costs.
Another advantage is familiarity as the staff are already familiar with the business software, they only need to learn a few added options in the software menu and this can be done with some basic training. This reduces the pressure of learning a separate interface for performing big data analytics and they have the advantage of familiarity to help them feel at ease with the new features addition.
Data security and reliance is improved in Embedded BI solutions as the software works within the umbrella of the existing software and adopts the security protocols and user access control from the business software. Embedded BI software provides much friendlier and cost effective solution to the data needs of the industry and helps data analyst perform big data analytics using features like data dashboards, ranking reports and predictive analysis.
Although, embedded business intelligence software has become very popular and businesses are purchasing embedded solutions for their business data needs but in some scenarios, traditional standalone BI software have the edge. Mostly, data analysts analyze the existing business systems and determine the data needs of the business. If they require specific features that might be only available with traditional BI softwares then Embedded BI may be at a disadvantage.
Another disadvantage may be reliance on cloud for their operation, this is usually viewed as an advantage but if there is delay in processing due to internet issues then the user experience might become cumbersome and may cost clients’ valuable time resulting in delays in generating requested reports or possible hang ups in data operations.
Which has a preference in the market
When businesses take the decision to acquire business intelligence software for their data analytic needs, after performing initial business requirement study they are faced with a choice to purchase Embedded or standalone BI softwares. The market shift is observed in favor of embedded Business intelligence solutions as it is both lighter on pocket and easier to manage. The set of features are almost same with new updates bringing newer and more attractive features in both embedded and standalone BI softwares.
The smaller businesses are found to be more inclined to embedded BI solution to save on money and get the maximum from a cloud based ad hoc solution like dotnet report builder that integrates easily and provides BI data analytics. These mvc solutions offer a range of features for their clients’ that can help them with data analytics and increase their productivity.
Some Enterprise level business organizations might be reluctant to keep their data remotely on cloud and may need to in house their data. In this case, Standalone BI software might be the more suitable solution to go with. So, as we conclude the decision to choose one from the other may depend on a number of factors and some business specific needs may sway the decision in favor of Standalone business intelligence solution if the company is ready to invest the time and money for a tradeoff between ease of use and cost efficiency.
Dotnet report builder is an ad hoc reporting system with functionality to many user data and create beautiful visualizations and data analytics both in stand-alone and embedded environment with ease. The functionality can be varied according to the business need and suitability.
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