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Looking back now that we’ve reached the one year anniversary of the Take30, we appreciated the opportunity to share our perspective on a range of Business Intelligence (BI) topics with a wide and diverse audience.  

The topics we covered ranged from the strategic and thought provoking, to the deep technical and “how-to” with a consistent focus on how to improve the analytics experience for you and your user community.

Over the course of the year we hosted 28 sessions focused on BI, most were either focused on a specific technology (Amazon QuickSight, IBM Cognos, Microsoft Power BI or Tableau) or a comparison on how these technologies addressed a capability such as Natural Language Query (NLQ), Embedded Analytics or Cloud BI.

Many of our sessions focused on our heritage as the go-to Cognos experts including deep dives into the modern BI features in Cognos Analytics including Data Modules, Data Sets and Explorations.  In one of our most highly anticipated (and highly attended) sessions, Rachel Su from IBM Offering Management joined Ironside to lead an overview of Cognos Analytics 11.1.7 – a role she reprised last month for Cognos Analytics 11.2).

In a number of other sessions, we explored Tableau new features, touched on many of the enterprise capabilities of Power BI and introduced Amazon QuickSight to our audience. 

Creating a Centralized Metadata Model in Power BI (4/16/20)

In our first session of the Take30 series, we explored the concept of shared datasets in Power BI and offered our point of view that, for many organizations who are maturing their Power BI capabilities, shared datasets mapped well to the “traditional” approaches of centralized (and governed) metadata, yet offered a degree of flexibility for decentralized teams to move at their own pace.  (Checkout this Playlist for Power BI)

Cloud BI: A Comparison of Leading Technologies (6/25/20)

As a majority of organizations see Cloud-based analytics as critical to their current and future analytics strategies, we thought it an opportune moment to take our audience through a review of the leading BI tools we work with on a daily basis.  

We reviewed the benefits of Cloud BI, including serverless and subscription-based licensing, then provided a comparison of vendors including Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, IBM Cognos and Amazon QuickSight.  

Amazon QuickSight – New Features (10/1/20)

While relatively new to the BI marketplace, we were excited to continue our focus on Amazon QuickSight and the significant progress the AWS team is making toward a solid enterprise featureset.  

Since that time, the roadmap and feature releases have become even more aligned to the enterprise reporting use case, especially in consideration of the compelling licensing story and scalable serverless architecture on which it is based.  (you may also want to check out this intro to QuickSight session  Introduction to Amazon QuickSight (5/7/20))

Enterprise Reporting: Assessment, Simplification and Migration (2/18/21)

Lastly, we wanted to address a topic that is of increasing prominence in our day to day conversations with clients – that of enterprise reporting migrations.  

In this session, we provided our point of view on the reasons why organizations migrate from their legacy tools, offered perspectives on approaches to migrations and the important pitfalls and lessons learned when considering such an initiative. 

We touched on tooling and accelerators we’ve developed to help those who have embarked on this journey reach their destination more quickly.

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Throughout 2020, the Take30 webinar series gave our BI Experts a new way to connect with our clients and prospects in what was otherwise a challenging year. We confirmed that our participants are not only interested in diving deep into tool functionality, they are looking for guidance in managing multiple BI tools at enterprise scale, and understanding how cloud BI can enhance their analytics capabilities without breaking enterprise reports and functionality which are critical to their business operation.

Looking forward, we are going to explore those and other questions with you as we continue to share our knowledge and provide a mix of content; from the tactical to the strategic, across all the tools we help our clients with on a daily basis.

The integration of BI solutions within business process applications or interfaces has become a modern standard. Over the past two decades, Business Intelligence has dramatically transformed how data could be used to drive business and how business processes can be optimized and automated by data. With ML and augmented analytics movement, BI applications are vital to every organization. Analytics embedding enables capabilities such as interactive dashboards, reporting, predictive analytics, AI processing and more within the touch of existing business applications. This differs from traditional standalone BI applications that put all the capabilities of business intelligence directly within the applications on which users have already relied. Now you may ask, when should I consider embedding to maximize my ROI?

Embedding Use Cases

Bar graph with upward trend     Business Process Applications

In this case, the integration of data & analytics is embedded into applications used by specific personas. For instance, embedding historical client information into a CSR application. One outcome will be improved decision-making based on readily available customer insights and higher levels of user adoption.

Shopping cart    Software / OEM Solutions

Digital transformation is all about software. Data visualization, forecasting and user interactions are must-have features of every application. Save the time you would spend coding. Embedding analytics in software not only saves cost greatly but also prominently enhances functionalities of software application.

Forest scene     Portals / Websites

Integration of data into your website or portal is another popular option. The benefits are obvious – information sharing provides your customers with valuable insights through a unified platform; you are able to go to market much faster since you are reaching customers directly. It helps your customers access the data they need to make decisions better, quicker and within their fingertips.

Embedding flow for embedding for your customers

Prepare for Embedding

Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at things to be considered. At a high level, the following areas to be carefully examined before design begins:

  • What are the embedding integration options? Especially with regards to security, how do you enable other application access to your secured BI assets? What are the options to manage authentication and authorization for thousands of users, both internally and externally?
  • Which functionalities will be open and accessible to BI embedding specifically? Typically not all UI functionalities are supported via embedding. Verify that critical functionalities are supported. Map your requirements to embedding functionalities and features.
  • Cloud vs On-premise hosting. Besides management and cost concerns, your organization may have cloud strategies and road-maps in place already. If that is the case, most likely no exception for BI application including embedding. Plus source data cloud modernization is another big driver to go with cloud. 
  • Cost – yes, no surprise there is cost associated with BI embedding. Each BI vendor may collect fees differently but legitimately you will need to pay BI embedding based on consumption pattern even when a single application user account is leveraged. Do the math so you know how much it will be on the bill. 

 Next let’s examine the tool differences. 

Embedding API by Leading BI Vendors

VendorAPIFunctionalities
IBM CognosSDK – Java, .NetMashup Service (Restful)New JavaScript API for DashboardNew REST API   Full programming SDK is almost identical to UI functionalitiesSDK can execute or modify a reportMashup service is easy to web embedding, limited report output formats are supportedJavaScript API and extension for dashboard, display/editNew REST API for administration 
Power BIREST APIJavaScriptREST: Administration tasks, though clone, delete, update reports are supported tooJavaScript: provides bidirectional communication between reports and your application. Most embedding operations such as dynamic filtering, page navigation, show/hide objects 
TableauREST APIJavaScriptREST: manage and change Tableau Server resources programmaticallyJavaScript: provides bidirectional communication between reports and your application. Most embedding operations such as dynamic filtering, page navigation
AWS QuickSightSDK – Java, .Net, Python, C++, GO, PHP, Ruby, Command lineJavaScriptSDK  to run on server side to generate authorization code attached with dashboard urlJavaScript: parameters (dynamic filters), size, navigation

BI embedding opens another door to continue serving and expanding your business. It empowers business users to access data and execute perceptive analysis within the application they are familiar with. Major BI vendors have provided rich and easy to use API, the development effort is minimum, light and manageable while the return benefits are enormous. Have you decided to implement BI Embedding yet? Please feel free to contact Ironside’s seasoned BI embedding experts to ask any questions you may have. We build unique solutions to fit distinctive requests, so no two projects are the same, but our approach is always the same and we are here to help.

The world has changed dramatically over the course of a single month, and companies are struggling even more with things that have historically challenged them:

  • Finding the best people to run, build and innovate on their analytics tools and data
  • Making these environments accessible to employees in a work-at-home model

In this Forbes article, Louis Columbus cites a recent Dresner survey that shows up to 89% of companies are seeing a hit to their BI and Analytics budgets due to COVID-19. The survey includes these two recommendations:

Recommendation #1

Invest in business intelligence (BI) and analytics as a means of understanding and executing with the change landscape.

Recommendation #2

Consider moving BI and analytical applications to third-party cloud infrastructure to accommodate employees working from home.


89% of companies are seeing a hit to their BI and Analytics budgets due to COVID-19.


We’re here to help you explore your options.

Now that the role of analytics is more important than ever to a company’s success, analytics leaders are again being asked to do much more with much less — all while companies are experiencing staff reductions, navigating the complexities of moving to a work-from-home model, and struggling to onboard permanent hires.

To address these short-term shortages (and potentially longer-term budget impacts), companies are naturally evaluating whether leveraging a managed-service approach — wholly or even just in part— can help them fill their skills gap while also reducing their overall spend.

As they weigh this decision, cost, technical expertise, market uncertainty and the effectiveness of going to a remote-work model are all top-of-mind. Here’s how these factors might affect your plans going forward:

Factor 1: Cost

As the Dresner number showed, most analytics teams need to reduce spend. Doing this mid-year is never easy, and usually comes at the expense of delayed or canceled projects, delayed or cancelled hiring, and possibly even staff reductions. All of these decrease a company’s analytics capabilities, which in turn decreases its ability to make the right business decisions at a critical time. A managed services approach to meeting critical analytics needs, even just to address a short-term skills gap, can provide valuable resources in a highly flexible way, while saving companies significant money over hiring staff and traditional consulting models.

Factor 2: Technical Expertise

A decade ago, your options for analytics tools and platforms were limited to a handful of popular technologies. Today even small departments use many different tools. We have seen organizations utilizing AWS, Azure, and private datacenters. Oracle, SQL Server, Redshift all at the same company? Yes, we have seen that as well. Some of our customers maintain more than five BI tools. At some point you have to ask: Can we hire and support the expertise necessary to run all these tools effectively? Can we find and hire a jack-of-all trades?

In a managed services model, companies can leverage true experts across a wide range of technology while varying the extent to which they use those resources at any particular time. As a result, companies get the benefit of a pool of resources in a way that a traditional hiring approach simply cannot practically provide.

Factor 3: Effectiveness of Remote Work Engagement

If you weren’t working remotely before, you probably are now. Companies are working to rapidly improve their processes and technologies to adjust to a new normal while maintaining productivity.

Managed service resourcing models have been delivering value remotely for years, using tools and processes that ensure productivity. Current events have not affected these models, therefore making them an ideal solution for companies  trying to figure out the best way to work at home.

Times are changing. We’re ready!

Ironside has traditionally offered Managed Services, to care for and maintain customer platforms and applications, and consulting services, to assist in BI and Analytics development.

Companies can leverage our Analytics Assurance Services temporarily, for a longer period of time to address specific skills gaps, or to establish a cloud environment to support remote analytic processes.

With Ironside, you can improve your data analytics within your new constraints, while reducing your costs. We’d love to show you how.

Contact us today at: Here2Help@IronsideGroup.com