The business intelligence industry is currently in the midst of a major overhaul. Long gone are the days when executives had to wait hours, or even days, for their IT teams to extract valuable business insights from the company databases. Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI) software tools, such as Microsoft’s Power BI, are leading a movement of data democratization that now allows a wider range of users to analyse data at hand and draw conclusions driving efficient decision making.
What’s even more exciting is the fact that business intelligence software tools are now increasingly integrated into the daily operations of organizations. The process of embedding analytics into business applications allows decision makers to turn analysed data into concrete actions in a more agile and efficient manner. This is a great opportunity for forward-looking organizations to leverage data like never before by incorporating BI functions directly into their business software.
In this article, we will discuss the many ways in which Power BI Embedded can make your business intelligence operations more efficient. We will also provide insights on how AZUR Innova embeds Power BI into a variety of business applications.
Benefits of Power BI
Before delving further into the specifics of Power BI Embedded, let’s examine the main benefits of this service.
Quickness and agility
For business intelligence tools to be effective, users need to know what type of insight they need. In that sense, it’s extremely helpful and efficient to have a BI tool that can generate reports and dashboards very quickly. This tool allows users to test and adjust queries rapidly and obtain the answers that they are looking for in a much timelier manner. Since users can slice and dice through the data, they can gain a better understanding of a given situation and are empowered to make better informed business decisions.
Power BI certainly sets itself apart with its great user friendliness. Many users, and especially those who are familiar with Microsoft products, have reported that Power BI was intuitive and easy to use. The tool’s simplicity is a crucial feature because it allows business users to function independently from their IT departments and data analysts. The fact that decision makers can control the entire process saves them a lot of time, as it eliminates back and forth and waiting periods.
These days, making decisions ‘’on-the-go’’ is extremely important. To ensure that quick decisions are driven by data, BI tools must be available on mobile platforms. This is the case with Power BI, since it is available through an application on both iOS and Android platforms. Users having access to their data wherever they are to analyse them is a real difference maker in terms of operational efficiency.
Another benefit of Power BI is that it is very affordable. In addition to offering a free version of the product, Power BI has a pro version is available at only $9.99 a month per user. This low-priced option is another step towards data democratization, as it allows a wider range of businesses to use business intelligence tools. Making payments each month and on a per-user basis is also a huge advantage. As with other Software-as-a-Service, there is no need for a large upfront investment with this monthly payment method.
The Embedding Process
Although Power BI can be used as a standalone product to which data can be manually pushed from a data analysis tool like an Excel sheet, its real business value is revealed when it is properly embedded into a Line of Business (LOB) application. It then becomes part of the software and automatically feeds itself from the application’s data. Such centralization increases the efficiency of decision making as it saves time spent going from one application to the other to transfer data and reports.
There are a few ways to embed Power BI into a LOB application, many of which we’ve experienced at AZUR Innova. Depending on the scenario, level of security and type of data that need to be visualized, one could choose to use Power BI Embedded and REST API combined or Power BI Embedded alone to push data to Power BI while allowing users full flexibility to create reports. A very recent feature, Row-Level-Security could also be interesting in a multi-tenant environment. This feature allows companies to better manage and control access to reports and data.
AZUR Innova’s Experience
Throughout various projects completed for clients, we’ve had the opportunity to integrate Power BI using various mechanisms. In doing so, we found that one of the simplest ways to quickly integrate an app is to use the Power BI Rest API. With this API, developers can choose some data and make them available to users through Power BI. The application will then regularly push data to the Power BI storage to automatically update user-created reports and graphs. In turn, users can use the Power BI tools to create their own reports and dashboards, without involving their IT department. They can also leverage their current Excel skills with Power BI tools to easily create rich graphs and dashboards.
As a second level of integration, developers could choose to integrate some of the users’ dashboards and graphs into their web application through IFrames. From our experience, this enhances integration by giving users a central point to manage their data and view their reports. Finally, one of the great features of Power BI is its ability to seamlessly integrate with Excel. Users can publish workbooks directly from Excel or integrate with Excel Online through Microsoft OneDrive to use existing workbooks and include them in their rich reports.
In this article, we have established that Self-Service Business Intelligence software such as Power BI can empower organizations to leverage data more easily and more affordably. Furthermore, the launch of Power BI Embedded now offers a way for organizations to operationalize analytics and systematically improve decision making.
Interested in improving your BI processes?
Our AZUR Innova experts will draw from their extended Power BI expertise to integrate business intelligence seamlessly into your daily business operations.