Advantages of using Business Intelligence

You lay lazily, your scruffy hair half submerged in the marshmallow-like curvature of your pillow, lethargically following the steadfast progression of a solitary ant along the windowsill.

You’re sprawled across your arm; it’s numb. But the mere thought of moving is too much. After all, it’s Sunday, and you’d need a good reason to disentangle yourself from the bed sheets. Without motivation, it’s pretty easy to just let the day pass by in an unproductive haze.

I think many companies have a similar disposition towards embedded Business Intelligence (BI) – the integration of a reporting and analytics module within an existing software application.

I’m not suggesting that most organizations considering integrating analytics functionality within existing applications and business processes are somehow trapped within a permanent state of Sunday slothfulness. But, I am proposing that unless supplied with appropriate motivation, inaction will triumph over action.

And the best type of motivation? Clearly discernable benefits.

Aberdeen on embedded BI benefits

The Aberdeen Group’s Data Management for BI: Fueling the Analytical Engine with High-Octane Information study underscores the growing demand for embedded BI capabilities, reporting that organizations are struggling to effectively utilize increasing data volumes. The report found that, in 2012, the average organization is experiencing a 41 percent year-over-year increase in data volumes, from an average of 15 different data sources.

More importantly, another Aberdeen report – Embedding BI in Enterprise Applications: Magnifying the Analytical Impact – found that organizations using embedded BI enjoyed a number of notable benefits, including:

  • A 20% year-over-year increase in operating profit, compared with 10% for average organizations
  • A 19% year-over-year increase in organic revenue, compared with 12% for average organizations
  • A 16% year-over-year increase in operating cash flow, compared with 9% for average companies

It’s also often argued that embedding BI functionality into existing software packages produces higher user adoption / acceptance rates (because this functionality is included in an environment that users are already familiar with), and hence supports higher levels of user engagement. Additionally, it’s also commonly argued that embedding reporting and analytics functionality in existing applications throughout an organization is an effective way to instill a culture of widespread fact-based decision-making – or pervasive BI.

According to research and analyst giant Gartner, less than 30 percent of the potential users of organizations’ standalone BI tools use the technology. Other firms estimate that BI adoption rates for standalone BI solutions are even lower, languishing between eight and 20 percent.

Comparatively, Aberdeen’s Embedding BI in Enterprise Applications: Magnifying the Analytical Impact report found that 60 percent of those embedded BI users surveyed came from organizations with a “strong analytical culture”, where data-based decision-making is highly valued.

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