Four: The Challenge of Scalability
The previous article has reminded us that matching a solution that fits the current technology stack can pose a challenge in embedded reporting.
An embedded reporting solution will render itself useless rather quickly if it is not easily scalable.
While you may only require a single server today, what will your business look like in two years? Rapid expansion is difficult to predict, and a solution that does not easily grow along with the needs of the business will actually hinder growth, rather than facilitate it.
Infrastructure isn’t the only consideration when it comes to the scalability of an embedded feature. You also must consider the cost of scaling. If you can easily purchase more space on a hosted solution, that’s all well and good, but if the investment is too costly it will be impossible to implement. Licensing must also be considered when considering the cost of scaling. If unique licenses must be purchased for each computer, user, or customer, costs can quickly skyrocket.
Decision makers must be clear about how the licenses for the embedded solution will work before making a commitment. Before settling on a solution, it is critical to purchase what you need today. However, that solution must have the capacity to offer what you may need in the future, at a cost that is reasonable and maintains profitability over the long haul.
Evaluating the Cost of an Embedded Reporting Solution
While cost should never be the only factor that determines whether or not you implement an embedded solution, it will almost always have influence on a purchase. In order to properly evaluate the true cost of a tool, consider the following:
- Does the cost of the feature deliver enough real value to make it worth the investment?
- Is the feature going to generate revenue or will it simply be a platform add-on that adds to your internal costs?
- Is there an option for a revenue-sharing relationship with your vendor?
- Will you need to purchase additional licenses to install on each computer, or is it a cloud-based solution?
- For customers: What is your customer base expecting based upon their current pricing structure? Can you tier your reporting based on product levels?
- What is the cost of building out the feature yourself?
In this last part, vendors can also pose as a challenge in embedded reporting without us realizing it.