8 criteria to remember when embedding a BI tool

Whilst embedding a Business Intelligence (BI) tool into your software package enables you to provide your clients and customers with world-class BI, and develop an additional revenue stream, not all BI tools and vendors are the same. There are several factors to consider when selecting a BI tool to embed.

1.  Useable and enjoyable visual analytics

Rightly or wrongly, your customers judge data analysis programs on their visual displays. If your analytics interface is boring, unattractive and uninviting, users will probably never discover the power of your application.

But the data visualization options provided must transcend “pretty”. Your BI application must offer a wide-range of usable charts and tables that demand attention and stimulate accurate and fast data interpretation. Additionally, they must never detract or distract from the significance of the data. The line between engaging and distracting data visualization is often perilously thin – it pays to use a BI tool that can expertly negotiate “the line”.

2.  Flexible licensing and pricing

Watch out! Hidden costs can lurk around every shadowy back street corner. Look for a BI tool that can be embedded in a flexible, yet simple manner, with no hidden costs. Also, join forces with a BI vendor who is willing to work with you to understand your licensing and pricing model and develop a mutually agreeable go-to-market strategy. Moreover, choose a BI developer that provides integration advice and support to get you to market quickly, and whose integration and development licenses are free.

3.  Partner with a specialized BI provider

To reduce costs, deployment complexities and timeframes, and ensure a competitive analytics solution, see a specialist. It’s like purchasing or utilizing any other product or service. If you want the best, go to the experts. If you’ve acquired a persistent cough, you might visit your local GP. If your ailment is more specific, you’ll receive a referral to a specialist – someone whose primary business relies on their ability to solve that specific problem. Only embed a BI tool from a developer whose core competency is BI.

4.  Easy integration and deployment

Deployment must be easy. Your chosen BI solution should require no special analytic databases, no re-hosting, no star schema, no data movement and no remarking of data structures. The reporting and analytics solution should be able to use data from databases of almost any size or type.

Integration should be simple. The BI tool should integrate seamlessly into your existing software platform to allow for maximum usability. Users should be able to move between the BI tool and your application smoothly without the need for additional log-in. The BI application should be unbranded, and able to be adapted to match the look and feel of your core application. This way, your brand receives all the kudos, rather than the BI developer.

5.  Embedded analytics software must read your application’s data natively

Embedded analytics and reporting tools should be able to read your application’s data natively, without delay, to allow your customers to undertake real-time analysis of business operations.

6.  Embedded analytics software must be highly intuitive and easy to use

Customers should be able to utilize the embedded analytics and reporting tool to read, report on and interpret their data without the help of technical support staff.

7.  Regular upgrades

Choose a BI vendor that reinvests a substantial portion of its revenue in research and development and releases regular program upgrades that keep pace with the demands of modern reporting and analytics. Also, pick a BI vendor whose BI platform can adapt to suit your changing reporting needs without daunting time and financial constraints.

8.  Cloud and SaaS

Reduce the problem of long and complex deployments. Select a BI tool that has been architected to provide rapid and secure deployment into the Cloud or as a hosted SaaS application. The application should be able to be deployed in traditional hosted environments or in the Cloud and support multi-database or multi-tenancy environments. A BI tool with a browser-based development and configuration environment will allow you to host the entire solution in the cloud.

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