Business intelligence (BI) is becoming increasingly critical to modern business functions. With the generation of ever-increasing amounts of data, businesses are learning the importance of collecting that data, analyzing it, and using it in ways that can benefit their organizations.
As BI becomes an essential part of doing business, companies of all sizes are seeking ways to implement embedded analytics in their software in a way that doesn’t put a strain on already overtaxed developers.
Frequently, the choice comes down to cloud-hosted/vendor-hosted or self-hosted options.
The lure of cloud-based BI services is hard to ignore. With so many services moving to the cloud, customers often believe it is simply the best way to go for everything. And indeed, there are some benefits. A cloud solution may require less time to set up and integrate. There is no need to set up servers or add new infrastructure to an existing software environment.
Additionally, there may be cost benefits, but it’s a bad idea to jump to the conclusion that cloud-based embedded analytics is always cheaper.
Cost benefits vary on a case-by-case basis, and each organization should be diligent and perform its analysis on the cost of a cloud-hosted solution versus a self-hosted one.
Costs aside, there are several downsides to a cloud-based solution that will detail next.
Challenges of Cloud-Based Embedded Analytics
Downtime You Can’t Control
Part of your software operations are now dependent on a third party, and if they go down, you go down — and you have no control over the restoration of services. Of course, your cloud-based BI service will provide you with an SLA, but think back to recent outages of Amazon Web Services, Azure, or Cloudflare and how it caused chaos across the SaaS environment. While temporary, end-users rarely know the true cause and remember the outage for a long time.
Forced Software Upgrades
Automatic software upgrades seem like a great feature on the surface. But if you have several users trained on a system that suddenly gets upgraded with new features, you may find yourself with end-users that are unprepared for the changes that have rolled out. Your developers may also be scrambling to update your software to support new methods.
External Data Security
In collecting customer data, it is increasingly important to be aware of the regulations surrounding that data. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and others have strict rules on data privacy.
With a cloud-hosted BI solution, a third party now has access to your customer data, requiring extra steps to ensure compliance. In many cases, it is extremely important to know exactly where that data is located to meet compliance as well. The added legal and administrative costs of establishing Data Processing Agreements (DPAs) also come into play.
Benefits of Self-Hosted Embedded Analytics
In some cases, a cloud-BI solution may offer an on-premise option. However, many cloud-first vendors such as Power BI or Sisense offer that on-premise option at a very high price.
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of a self-hosted embedded BI solution.
As a developer, it’s always a tough decision on whether to build your dashboards and reports or to partner with a BI vendor. Unless you have a lot of resources (time, team, and budget), partnering is normally the best option. But part of the struggle with this decision is losing control of an important area of your software and your user experience. That control is reduced even further with a cloud-based BI solution, but with a self-hosted, you maintain a very large amount of control.
Updates happen on your schedule, so if the vendor announces a significant update with several new features, you can train your staff completely before rolling out the upgrade on your schedule. The uptime of the BI system is solely reliant on the uptime of your network. Data storage, branding, domain control, DNS, SSL, everything that you are used to controlling, you maintain control of.
Privacy and Security
All customer data stays securely in your hands, behind your company’s firewall. And no third party or external networks are required to integrate with your environment, potentially compromising security and performance.
Self-hosted solutions also allow the users direct access to APIs and embedded BI web pages within their own domain space. This means that there are no cross-security browser concerns with external networks.
Ease of Deployment
While many software vendors have a hosted version of their product for most customers, they may elect to have a separate hosted environment for extra-large deployments. Alternatively, they may opt to deploy their software at the customer location.
If they are using a cloud-hosted solution, that is nearly impossible – or if it is, it requires the customer to open their data up to an external vendor. Self-hosted BI software, on the other hand, can be deployed at a customer location just as easily as on your own.
Downsides to Self-Hosted Embedded BI
Are there downsides to a self-hosted solution? Potentially.
Some solutions may require a specific environment. Yurbi, for example, requires Windows Server, which some vendors tend to avoid – although it does offer cost savings that justify the switch (Side Note: By the time you read this we may have completed this roadmap item to support Linux environments).
And you must have the processes and procedures to properly maintain self-hosted software. In the case of a self-hosted solution, you are responsible for operations and maintenance of the BI software, to keep servers patched, backed up and running optimally. For an extremely lean and small team, cloud-based BI may better simply because your team does not have the time or expertise to manage infrastructure.
How Yurbi Can Help With Embedded Analytics
Business intelligence is becoming an essential competitive advantage for most organizations today, and a well-designed and deployed BI analytics solution provides a strong foundation for any business seeking improvements.
Deciding how to employ BI is an important decision for companies that want this advantage, so plan carefully when putting a system in place, making sure it is one that will work for your company both now and in the future.
Yurbi was designed from the ground up with the embedded analytics use case in mind:
Full API for seamless integration
Self-hosted to keep everything local within your private network
Affordable to small and large organizations
Let’s Discuss Your Requirements
How can you know if Yurbi is a match for your requirements? The best way is to schedule a live demo or call with our team. Not a high-pressured sales call, but a discussion to understand your requirements and talk about how Yurbi may help.