Be Sensible: Embed Analytics in Cloud-Based Applications

Cloud computingEverybody seems to be moving into the cloud. It’s a pillar in the next wave of IT, along with mobile, social and business analytics, said Melanie Posey, research vice president for IDC, an analyst firm based in Framingham, Mass. In a Tech Target article she’s quoted as saying cloud blurs the lines between IT and business departments, forcing continuous innovation and transformation.

An important part of that innovation and transformation should be embedded analytics in a self-service BI platform.

In its glossary, Gartner says that “the integration of a business intelligence (BI) platform with the application architecture will enable users to choose where in the business process the analytics should be embedded.” (emphasis added)

The cloud is big, and getting bigger. Microsoft executives said during the company’s third quarter fiscal 2015 earnings that the company had hit an annual run rate of $6.3 billion for its commercial cloud.

At the company’s annual Financial Analyst Meeting, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft’s goal is to hit a $20 billion run rate for its commercial cloud by 2018.

Gartner estimated the value of the cloud integration services market at $190 million in 2012 and forecasted a 30% compounded annual growth rate through 2017. It’s one of the fastest growing segments of the PaaS market.

A majority of executives surveyed – 62% – said that the cloud increased productivity at their organization. Almost as many – 59% – said that the cloud helped increase revenue. (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Survey, March 2014)

Many existing BI and reporting technologies are not cloud ready. SQL Server Reporting Services, for instance, only allows consumption of reports on mobile devices and not creation or customization. Users can only publish reports or a data model to the web.

Usability and the demand for self-service is also straining traditional home-grown and developer tools. Companies need a cloud-ready embedded BI platform like Izenda that provides self-service capabilities not only to power users and IT, but to all business users in the application they use every day.

A strength of a cloud-based system is that it allows all users to access the same set of data.

Kevin McManus of LaunchWorks blogged that to effectively consume, use and interact with enterprise data, the key is to have the data available where the user is working. And he says preferably that means embedded within the application. Working in the cloud you shouldn’t have to switch to an on-prem application for reports on that data.

He’s not alone in the view that embedding is the way to go.

Wayne Eckerson said in a benchmark report that “cloud application providers recognize that applications are no longer islands.” Customers are pushing to have access to data and functions that can then be tightly linked with other applications. In the Eckerson Group report, (Cloud Integration: New Approaches for Connecting Applications and Data in a Hybrid Computing Environment) SaaS and PaaS providers see two options: Either build the functionality or buy it. “Most SaaS and PaaS vendors do the sensible thing and opt to embed cloud integration services from a third-party vendor,” knowing how challenging it is to keep current with every commercial application and API on the market.

Izenda blends seamlessly into your business process, application strategy and your interface. If you leverage .NET and HTML5 in your development efforts, Izenda is your reporting and business intelligence solution.

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