Why Embed BI?


There is a transformational change going on in business intelligence. Users are becoming more and more demanding. They want access to their real-time data without the complications of IT staff or difficult to use applications.  Today the action is in a new, more integrated world of dynamic, real-time information. Next-generation BI promises speedier, automated decision-making.


To underpin this trend a poll released last month by InformationWeek showed nearly half of the 500 IT professionals surveyed, plan to increase spending on software for viewing and analyzing business information from 2006 levels. Forrester says BI platform revenues will reach $7.3 billion by 2008, and CIO’s surveyed by Gartner identified BI as their No. 2 technology priority last year, up from No. 10 in 2004.


The underlying issue though for BI customers, is that Enterprise BI projects continue to deliver less than expected value. And why does enterprise BI continue to fail? Three reasons:

  • They do not cover the needs of the majority of business users. In fact, over 75% of enterprise business licenses end up as shelf ware.
  • Traditional BI projects have come at a high cost. Their complexity has meant long delivery cycles, and therefore greater risk and a reduced ROI.
  • Enterprise BI simply does not meet the needs of operational staff and line management.

So if Enterprise BI is failing, what is driving BI spend?  Embedded BI; either at the process or application level, that’s what!


Are information silos really that bad? Not according to the big vendors!

The market is rapidly changing; Oracle’s recent purchase of Hyperion, SAP buying Pilot Software, and market leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, and most recently Hewlett-Packard, are trumpeting BI, analytics and data warehousing. They are now challenging in markets once owned by pure-plays such as Business Objects, Cognos, MicroStrategy and SAS.


The big vendors are beginning to understand that only a small fraction of senior management require integrated enterprise business intelligence. Most people within an organisation, such as sales and front line staff do not need enterprise BI. They need operational BI that gives them instant access to relevant data in their applications.  They need to get on with their job and generate revenue. In fact, 80% of report data is sourced from single point operational systems, not monolithic enterprise data warehouses, and nothing is really going to change that!


The major reasons that these vendors are growing their embedded BI capability include:

  • They understand the reality that people work in silos and that these users are demanding access to their data and are wanting more than just static reports
  • Not only do they ‘own’ the operational applications that these workers use, but they are the experts in the application as well as the data that they contain. Vendors are able to create real value for their customers, more in fact than your average BI consultant
  • Let’s not forget there is money to be made. Why provide traditional BI players with a slice of the customer pie, when you can win that business for yourself? 


Embedded BI is the way of the future, and is the key for application vendors that want to add real value to their customers. The days of pre-canned static reports have come to an end and software developers who think they can get away without sophisticated embedded BI need to think again.

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