In today’s business climate staying ahead requires a system to deliver actionable insight to decision makers in a format that’s easy to understand and easy to access. The delivery of a quality, universally accepted business intelligence (BI) system that integrates well with existing systems is the challenge for a number of organizations today.
The Aberdeen Group has conducted research on the subject and published its findings describing how companies successfully develop and deploy embedded BI systems.
The Aberdeen study surveys 420 respondents who reveal that deploying embedded BI systems leads to quicker adoption, longer engagements, and a fostering of BI system familiarity when compared to standalone BI systems. A customer relationship management system (CRM) and a human resource planning (HRP) system augmented with analytics are perfect examples of an embedded BI implementation.
Of the 420 respondents, 174 (about 41%) indicate that they employ embedded BI approaches by augmenting/integrating with corporate systems used to conduct day-to-day operations. Aberdeen categorizes and groups the 174 respondents embedding BI in three performance areas:
- How actively involved the users of the business organization are with the BI system;
- How well the user accesses the data from the BI system without a great deal of assistance from the information technology department; and
- If the organization has experienced significant cycle time improvements when evaluating the business processes and conducting a comparative analysis from year to year.
Aberdeen classifes organizations measuring in the top 20% as “Best-in-Class;” those in the middle were “Industry Average” and the bottom 30% were classified as “Laggard.”
Best-in-Class organizations generally start the BI embedding process as a result of clear business justifications; the business user drives the analytical process. Additionally, Best-in-Class organizations share data across their organizations (where security permits) to facilitate best practices and functional collaboration – clearly articulating performance measures to promote cultures of accountability.
Balancing the cost of building, purchasing/licensing or a combination of the two can be a challenge. Aberdeen indentifies ease-of-use, functionality, and linkage to existing systems as additional challenges to consider before embedding analytics.
Aberdeen makes the following recommendations based on the behaviors exhibited by Best-in-Class organizations:
- Start with the software most widely used by the organization;
- Ensure that the BI functionality integrates well with the software that will serve as the host;
- Gather user requirements to ascertain and understand analytical needs; and
- Develop polices for sharing data, ensuring compliance with the organization’s security and governance policy.
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