Business intelligence: To buy or not to buy?
October 30, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): business intelligence, reporting
This practice is referred to as embedded business intelligence, where developers can take parts of business intelligence vendor solutions and embed them into the software that they’re developing. “We become the BI inside of all the other software that, if those companies had the expertise, they might build their own BI,” said Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft. “But it doesn’t make sense for them to build their own because they can license it from vendors and customize it into their own software.”
Providers of business intelligence and reporting solutions put a lot of effort into making sure their products perform well when dealing with different types and amounts of data. They wring out as much performance as they can, on large or even moderate-size datasets. “We’re going through and generating the reports and dealing with memory constraints and everything else in a way that’s really efficient for the user,” said James Johnson, product manager of ActiveReports at ComponentOne. “Those are things that are often afterthoughts if you were to build reports from scratch. If a developer were to run into a problem, it would be really hard for them to overcome a lot of these issues. Real hardcore programming is involved; it’s a different type of environment from business programming that most developers are dealing with.”
Developers also have to have certain skillsets to successfully build their own business intelligence and reporting solutions, and they don’t always have the necessary expertise to do so. Also, developers who are thinking about building their own should realize that there are actually a lot of different levels of what it means to build your own. “When developers think about BI, one thing that’s commonly said is that Microsoft Excel is the most commonly used BI tool,” said LogiXML’s Abramson. “So you do have a lot people that would simply use Excel to manage and manipulate their data. You find that a lot of people who build their own BI end up doing a lot of work in Excel.”