Business

Maximizing the Power of Embedded Business Intelligence

posted by Chris Valentine

We’re living in an era in which a major goal of technology is eliminating friction. Case in point: Online shoppers increasingly expect and value seamless multi-channel experiences that allow them to conduct transactions without moving between screens or platforms.

Business intelligence within enterprises is in a similar boat in terms of an emerging need for enterprises to provide accessible, convenient experiences if they want to harness the power of employee decision-making driven by data insights.

Here’s more on embedded business intelligence and how to maximize its power.

Advantages of Embedded Business Intelligence

Embedded BI is the modern answer to analytics limitations of years past — like siloed data accessible primarily to data scientists, rather than to decision-makers throughout a company. The driving force behind effective embedded BI and analytics is integration into existing workflows. So, instead of asking users to drop what they’re doing and access a separate report whenever they need an answer, embedded BI infuses existing applications and workflows with insights — as well as the tools users need to query data within that same interface.

As one BI expert writes for Transforming Data with Intelligence, this empowers a variety of users — including executives, managers and frontline employees — to access and apply data insights “within the context of their responsibilities” rather than having to “step out into a separate environment.”

In addition to meeting front-end users where they are in their workflows, embedded BI also enables employees to connect with information in relevant formats — like a search-driven BI engine or a dashboard customized to display certain key performance indicators. The fact that embedded BI provides user-defined metrics rather than one-size-fits-all static reports helps them boost relevancy in role-specific decision-making.

Getting the Most from Embedded BI & Analytics

What does it take to get the most value from embedded BI and analytics? Here are a few key factors that help determine how accessible and useful embedded BI is — which in turn positively influences the adoption rates of this tech and drives up the organizational return on investment. 

Scalability

Data democratization is dependent on scalability, or the platform’s ability to effectively accommodate the number of users who want and need access to it and its ability to seamlessly incorporate an enterprise’s growing volume of data over time. A solution with finite scalability might work now, but there will come a point when its limitations hamper users’ abilities to use embedded BI to the fullest.

Data Governance

More data — and more accessible data — requires effective data governance beyond just administrators’ ability to grant access to analytics. As one expert notes for Analytics Magazine, governance today involves an upstream component (sourcing, transformation, storage, etc.) and a downstream component (usage and consumption).

Not only is the goal to balance security with accessibility, but to help BI empower better business outcomes.

User-Friendliness

At the heart of embedded business intelligence resides the user experience. Put simply: Employees are more apt to avoid complicated, slow and irrelevant data tools — but more likely to embrace convenient, expedient and relevant interfaces. How intuitive and customizable your company’s chosen BI software can have an outsized impact on adoption rates.

Data Literacy Training

Although user experience design is important, enterprises can and should go even farther toward helping employees get the most from embedded BI. They can do so by providing data literacy training specific to the roles and interfaces of learners. Improving data literacy among non-specialists can help them become more confident using the tools as well as interpreting data insights.

Data Culture

As CFO cites, almost three-fourths (72 percent) of executives at corporations feel their organizations have yet to successfully create data cultures. Having a platform that enables embedded BI is important, but so is the culture surrounding those tools, as this has the power to dictate how employees feel about — and utilize—  the tech.

With the right conditions in place, embedded BI plays a key role in connecting employees with the data they need to make quality decisions.

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