So you find yourself entering the Business Intelligence (BI) world and are having all of these different terms flown by you at breakneck pace. Well we won't address all of these different terms in the post but we'll knock one of them off the list for you... Embedded BI.
What is Embedded BI?
Database Corner offers up a nice explanation of it below
Embedded reports are a standard requirement of most applications. But users are increasingly demanding more sophisticated reporting from applications - seeking such features as custom report design, ad hoc report creation and analytics. Developers that want to embed business intelligence and reporting features into applications must find a balance among requirements, cost and development time.
Today visionary software vendors and developers are blurring the lines between analytical and operational processes by embedding BI software into their applications. They understand the benefits of process-driven BI, operational dashboards, and ad hoc reporting from transactional systems. They also realize that their applications are the source of organisational information and that embedded BI is a key requirement to meeting their client’s management information needs.
Embedded BI is an integral part of a business application or process, not a separate application. It is typically a major component of the core application adding tremendous value for the customer. In some cases it becomes the face of the application for users who only need read access to the data.
As customers seek embedded reporting in their applications vendors that do so will develop competitive advantage, build customer loyalty and extend the life of their product within their existing customer base.
To achieve the competitive benefits of embedded BI, application developers need to select underlying technology that will support the basic requirements of the environment. These requirements are:
- Real Time BI - Embedded BI acts on real time data, not time delayed data stored in a separate warehouse or OLAP cube. A key factor in this is the source of the data - it comes from the application (or uses the same source as the application), not a data warehouse or data mart.
- Seamless Integration – Users do not want to switch applications between undertaking operational and reporting activities. Integrated security and look and feel assist create a seamless integration between the host application and reporting.
- End User Centric – Embedded BI is much more end-user focused than traditional BI. With embedded BI you cannot assume that your users has knowledge of both the BI application and the data set being analysed. Embedded BI needs to be significantly easier to use without training.
BI powerhouse Oracle has also provided us with some helpful information: So how is Embedded BI going to help me more?
Well the BI I get needs to embedded into my operational world and help me make better decisions in real time. In order to do that I would need it to be relevant, timely and actionable. Let's look at these three three items in the context of an example - I am considering eating one more slice of toast at 6:50, my next bus is at 7:05, the one after that is 7:40, the bus journey takes 12 minutes, then I have a 5 minute walk and I need to be at my desk at 8am to host a Web Conference, the fare is $2 and I only have a $20 bill in my pocket.
- Timely - This is easy, I need information before I put the toast in the toaster. If it comes after I put the toast in the toaster but before I start eating it then I might still get my bus but have to leave the toast behind and wasted. If I get it even later I may miss my bus. As you can see the later in the task I get the information the worse the result is.
- Relevant - I don't want generic information on my bus catching/missing history over the last 12 months. I want to know how often does having a slice of toast 15 minutes before my bus is due causes me to miss my bus. Some information about how often the 7:05 bus arrives early would help too.
- Actionable - In my bus example the action is pretty much down to me, I get up from the table and head out of the door, the action is in my own hands. One action I might need to take is to break my $20 bill to make sure I have the correct change for the bus fare, embedded BI would remind me of this and might even present the alternative option of borrowing $2 in change from my 5 year old's money box (A further action might be to remind me when I get home to pay it back)
You can view the full Oracle post here.