Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

The Intelligence Inside: Cloud Developers Change the World of Analytics

Evidence is mounting that embedding analytics inside apps business people use every day can lead to quantifiable benefits

Slide Deck from Karl Van den Bergh's Cloud Expo Presentation: The Intelligence Inside: How Developers of Cloud Apps Will Change the World of Analytics

We live in a world that requires us to compete on our differential use of time and information, yet only a fraction of information workers today have access to the analytical capabilities they need to make better decisions. Now, with the advent of a new generation of embedded business intelligence (BI) platforms, cloud developers are disrupting the world of analytics. They are using these new BI platforms to inject more intelligence into the applications business people use every day. As a result, data-driven decision-making is finally on track to become the rule, not the exception.

The Increased Focus on Analytics
With the emphasis on data-driven decision-making, it is perhaps not a surprise that the focus on analytics continues to mount. According to IDC's Dan Vesset, 2013 was poised to be the first year that the market for data-driven decision making enabled by business analytics broke through the $100 billion mark. IT executives are also doubling-down on analytics, a fact highlighted by Gartner's annual CIO survey which has put analytics as the number one technology priority three times out of the last five years. So, given the importance and spend on analytics, everyone should have access to the insight they need, right?

Most Business People Still Don't Use Analytics
Amazingly, in spite of spending growth and focus, most information workers today do not have access to business intelligence. In fact, Cindi Howson of BI Scorecard has found that end-user adoption of BI seems to have stagnated at about 25%. This stagnation is difficult to reconcile. How is it possible that, at best, one quarter of information workers have access to what is arguably most critical to their success in a world that runs on data?

There are a variety of reasons for stagnant end-user adoption, including the high costs associated with BI projects and an overall lack of usability. However, the biggest impediment to BI adoption has nothing to do with the technology. The reality is that the vast majority of business decision makers do not spend their day working in a BI tool - nor do they want to. Users already have their preferred tool or application: sales representatives use a CRM service; marketers use a campaign management or marketing automation platform; back-office workers will spend a lot of their day in an ERP application; executives will typically work with their preferred productivity suite, and the list goes on. Unless you are a data analyst, you are not going to want to spend much of your day using a BI tool. But, just because business people prefer not to use a BI tool does not mean they don't want access to pertinent data to bolster better decision-making.

The Need for More Intelligence Inside Applications
What's the solution? Simply put, bring the data TO users inside their preferred applications instead of expecting them to go to a separate BI system to find the report, dashboard or visualization that's relevant to the question at hand. If we want to reach the other 75% of business people who don't have access to a standalone BI product, we have to inject intelligence inside the applications and services they use every day. It is only through more intelligent applications that organizations can benefit from broader data-driven decision-making. In fact, according to Gartner, BI will only become pervasive when it essentially becomes "invisible" to business people as part of the applications they use daily. In a 2013 report highlighting key emerging tech trends, Gartner concludes that in order "to make analytics more actionable and pervasively deployed, BI and analytics professionals must make analytics more invisible and transparent to their users." How? The report explains this will happen "through embedded analytic applications at the point of decision or action."

If the solution to pervasive BI is to deliver greater intelligence inside applications, why don't more applications embed analytics? The reality is that only a small fraction of applications built today have embedded intelligence. Sure, they might have a table or a chart but there is no intelligent engine; users typically can't personalize a report or dashboard or self-serve to generate new visualizations on an ad-hoc basis. The culprit here is that business intelligence was originally intended as a standalone activity, not one that was designed to be embeddable. Specifically, the reasons driving developers to ignore BI platforms boil down to cost and complexity.

Cost and Complexity Are Barriers to Embedded BI
Traditionally, BI tools have carried a user-based licensing model. Licenses typically cost from the tens of thousands to millions of dollars. Such high per-user costs might be justified for a relatively small, predictably-sized population that includes a large percentage of power users who will spend a good amount of time working with the BI tool. This user-based model, however, is totally unsuitable for the embedded use case. The embedded use case is geared toward business users who will access the BI features less frequently and likely have less analytics experience than the traditional power user - in this scenario, high per-user costs simply can't be justified.

BI products are complex on a number of different levels. First, they are complex to deploy, often requiring months if not years to roll out to any reasonable number of users. Second, they are complex to use, both for the developers building the reports and dashboards as well as the business people interacting with the tool. Third, they are complex to embed. Designed as standalone products, BI tools are not architected to plug into another application.

Given the cost and complexity of traditional standalone BI offerings, it is no surprise that developers often turn to charting libraries to deliver the visualizations within their application. The cost is low and they are relatively simple for a developer to embed. In the short term, a charting library is a reasonable solution, but over time falls flat. The demands for more charts, dashboards and reports quickly grow, and end users begin looking for the ability to self-serve and create their own visualizations. As a result of these mounting demands, many application developers find themselves essentially building a BI tool, taking them outside their core competency and stealing precious time away from advancing their own application.

Could a New Generation of Embedded BI Provide the Solution?
Fortunately, there is a new generation of embedded analytic platforms emerging that looks set to address these challenges of cost and complexity. Wayne Eckerson, a noted BI analyst, identifies this as the third generation of embedded analytics in his article on the Evolution of Embedded BI. In summary, Eckerson describes the third generation as "moving beyond the Web to the Cloud" where developers can "rent these Cloud-based BI tools by the hour." These BI platforms can "support a full range of BI functionality including data exploration and authoring" and can be embedded through standard interfaces like REST and JavaScript. So, how does this third-generation address the issues of cost and complexity?

Utility Pricing Dramatically Reduces Cost
To address the challenge of cost, a new generation of embedded analytics platforms employs a utility-based licensing model where the software is available on a per-core, per-hour or per-gigabyte basis. From a developer's perspective, this is a much fairer model, as one only pays for what is used. At the beginning of the application lifecycle when usage is sporadic, developers can limit their costs. As the application becomes successful and use grows, usage can be easily scaled up. A recent report by Nucleus Research concluded that utility pricing for analytics can save organizations up to 70% of what they would pay for a traditional BI solution. I've written previously about how utility pricing will dramatically increase the availability of analytics, reaching a much broader set of organizations. The rapid adoption of Amazon's Redshift data warehousing service and Jaspersoft's reporting and analytics service on the AWS Marketplace provides rich testimony to the benefits of this model.

Cloud and Web-Standard APIs Reduce Complexity
A cloud-based BI platform significantly simplifies deployment, as there is no BI server to install or configure. The Nucleus Research report found that the utility-priced, Cloud BI solutions could be deployed in weeks or even days as opposed to the months commonly required for a traditional BI product.

Leveraging web-standard APIs like REST and JavaScript, the third-generation platforms also simplify the task of embedding analytics both on the front-end and back-end of the application. Importantly, these APIs allow full-featured, self-service BI capabilities to be embedded, not just reports and dashboards. This means increased ability of the application to respond to the ad-hoc information requests of business users.

The Benefits of Embedded Intelligence
Intuitively, it would seem that, by providing analytics within the applications business people use every day, an organization should experience the benefits of more data-driven decision-making. But is there any proof?

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group, based on data from over 130 organizations, has helped shed light on some of the benefits of embedded analytics. First, as might be expected, those companies using embedded analytics saw 76% of users actively engaged in analytics versus only 11% for those with the lowest embedded BI adoption. As a result, 89% of the business people in these best-in-class companies were satisfied with their access to data versus only 21% in the industry laggards. The bottom line? Companies leading embedded BI adoption saw an average 19% increase in operating profit versus only 9% for the other companies.

Andre Gayle, who helps manage a voicemail service at British Telecom, illustrates the difference embedded analytics can make. "We had reports [before] but they had to be emailed to users, who had to wait for them, then dig through them as needed. It was inefficient and wasteful." Now, thanks to embedded analytics, British Telecom has seen a huge savings in time and cost. As Gayle explains, capacity planning for the voicemail service used to be a "laborious exercise, involving several days of effort to dig up the numbers " but now can be done "on demand, in a fact-based manner, in just a few minutes."

The evidence is mounting that embedding analytics inside the applications business people use every day can lead to quantifiable benefits. However, the protagonist here, unlike in the traditional world of analytics, must be the developer, not the analyst. A new generation of embedded BI platforms is making it easier and more cost effective for developers to deliver the analytical capabilities needed inside the Cloud applications they are building. As developers increasingly avail of these new platforms, we can hope that BI will finally become pervasive as an information service that informs day-to-day operations. As Wayne Eckerson puts it, "In many ways, embedded BI represents the fulfillment of BI's promise." Now it's up to Cloud developers to help us realize that promise.

More Stories By Karl Van den Bergh

Karl Van den Bergh is the Vice President of Product Strategy at Jaspersoft, where he is responsible for product strategy, product management and product marketing. Karl is a seasoned high-tech executive with 18 years experience in software, hardware, open source and SaaS businesses, both startup and established.

Prior to Jaspersoft, Karl was the Vice President of Marketing and Alliances at Kickfire, a venture-funded data warehouse appliance startup. He also spent seven years at Business Objects (now part of SAP), where he held progressively senior leadership positions in product marketing, product management, corporate development and strategy – ultimately becoming the General Manager of the Information-On-Demand business. Earlier in his career, he was responsible for EMEA marketing at ASG, one of the world’s largest privately-held software companies. Karl started his career as a software engineer.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@BigDataExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
First generation hyperconverged solutions have taken the data center by storm, rapidly proliferating in pockets everywhere to provide further consolidation of floor space and workloads. These first generation solutions are not without challenges, however. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Wes Talbert, a Principal Architect and results-driven enterprise sales leader at NetApp, will discuss how the HCI solution of tomorrow will integrate with the public cloud to deliver a quality hybrid cloud e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
Though cloud is the future of enterprise computing, a smooth transition of legacy applications and systems is critical for seamless business operations. IT professionals are eager to start leveraging the cost, scale and other benefits of cloud, but with massive investments already in place in existing infrastructure and a number of compliance and resource hurdles, it can be challenging to move to a cloud-based infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...