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Executive Summary

Using Embedded Business Intelligence and Analytics for Near-Real-Time Decisions and Actions

Business intelligence (BI) solutions have evolved to focus on operational BI - the use of BI analytics to help manage daily business operations. These BI solutions support more real-time data collection, analysis and decision making, and extend access to BI analytics across the organization, potentially to all internal and external users. The goal is to reduce latencies in the decision process, make faster business decisions based on current business data and enhance the organization's ability to adapt to new or changing business needs.

The latest trend is to implement embedded BI analytics, the category of operational BI where BI analytics are either tightly integrated within business processes (process analytics) or continuously monitor and analyze complex and high-volume real-time events (stream analytics). The embedded BI model introduces important new design, development and implementation requirements. Unlike traditional BI analytics that rely on the data warehouse and can be developed independently of operational business processes, embedded BI analytics focus on what operational decisions can be improved; the need for BI analytics to fit within an existing operational infrastructure (a good example is security); the benefits of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and an iterative approach for development and deployment; the need for performance, scalability, reliability, availability and serviceability; and the need for comprehensive functionality in the areas of data access and integration, analytical processing power, and user interface and delivery capabilities.

Implementing an embedded BI analytics solution involves identifying business requirements, and then assessing application architecture, data access and integration, analytical processing power and user interface and delivery options.

In this report, we also present case studies describing several organizations that have implemented embedded BI analytics solutions to improve the effectiveness of business decisions. Each is a customer of a sponsor of this report: Actuate, Corda Technologies, JasperSoft, LogiXML and Teradata.

These customers described key benefits from implementing embedded BI solutions, including better and faster analysis and business decisions, the ability to align strategy with daily operations, flexibility in meeting business requirements, improved performance through automation and enhanced customer relationships.

Important trends are use of an SOA and web services to define embedded BI analytics as reusable services; direct access to operational and unstructured data outside the data warehouse (DW); implementation of predictive BI analytics; the use of rules engines/alerts; and the use of new technologies to provide a more interactive, dynamic, personalized user interface.

An embedded BI analytics business model, when implemented successfully, has the potential to optimize business performance, dramatically increase an organization's flexibility and agility, improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, and enhance competitiveness.

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