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September 27, 2016

Expand Your Company’s Use of BI with a Scalable and Easy to Use Solution

Louis Vistola

Companies today want to increase their use of business intelligence (BI) derived insights to deliver better customer service, improve operations, and make better decisions. Recent studies find that those organizations that are superior at deploying BI analytics are realizing a significant edge over competitors.

However, making greater use of BI and getting tools into the hands of more people within an organization can be riddled with obstacles. Many legacy solutions:

  • Are designed for BI professionals with strong database and development background and as a result are often too complex or hard for general business workers to use
  • Only run on-premises requiring large expenditures for infrastructure and long delays in deployment while waiting for hardware to be acquired and installed
  • Require knowledge of data storage and structures, as well as coding skills, to access the variety of datasets that companies want to routinely use for BI efforts
  • Are costly as they are licensed in a way that makes it expensive to expand BI to the entire enterprise.

Impact on corporations

The potential benefits of BI go straight to the heart of running a successful organization. Use of BI offers better decision making and improved business processes, ideally leading to bottom-line improvements.

Specifically, BI can help a company assess its own capabilities, compare its relative strengths and weaknesses against its competitors, identify trends and market conditions, and respond quickly to change. BI may help a company identify its most profitable customers, trouble spots within its organization, or its return on investment for certain products.

Simply put, BI helps decision-makers act swiftly and correctly in response to opportunities. To get the greatest value from using BI, businesses must expand their analytics efforts to include more types of data and using different analytic and visualization techniques on this data. They also must apply BI in new operational areas and expand its use beyond upper management to more groups and individuals.

However, implementing companywide use of BI is typically complex, costly, and time-consuming. Given the complexity of working with the different databases involved and the use of BI by a more general business user, companies need analytics and visualization tools that let these users directly access, analyze, and view corporate data and mash it up with other external datasets.

Additionally, companies need greater flexibility and speed than that afforded by legacy solutions. Today’s modern BI platforms must have features and capabilities to address a number of issues. To start, they must be easy-to-use. In the past, BI was relegated to a small set of people within an organization. The main users were executives that made use of information presented through dashboards created by BI professionals.

An appropriate solution must provide easy access to common databases. Users should not have to write code to access the data or rely on IT to build new dashboards to provide access to the data.

And with today’s highly mobile workforce, any solution selected must provide access to tools and the ability to share results via a desktop computer and a mobile device.

From a corporate perspective, a modern BI solution must be highly-scalable to accommodate large data sets and use by many employees. Any solution chosen today must be rapidly deployable. Given the critical nature of BI and business value of using BI, companies can no longer wait for IT to purchase and install infrastructure.

A solution must also be economically priced to allow the expanded use of BI within an organization. There needs to be a way to leverage legacy solutions to recoup past investments. With IT departments being asked to do more with less resources and tight budgets, a solution must have a low total cost of ownership.

As BI use spreads throughout a company, licensing costs with legacy BI and analytics products can skyrocket. A solution deployed to general business users must have a licensing model based on concurrent use and not seats.

Finding the right technology partner

With these issues in mind, the choice of the right technology partner is very important. Companies need a partner that offers a powerful and secure, easy-to-use solution that incorporates the latest technologies, and comes with an affordable price.

These are all areas where Altair can help. Its Envision solution is a modern, cloud-based BI platform. Architected for an optimized self-service user experience, Envision democratizes data visualization, exploration, and discovery. Users can connect to their data to quickly create and publish charts and dashboards in an environment that is intuitive and collaborative yet powerful and secure.

One major differentiator for Envision is that it can be accessed as a subscription-based public cloud platform and as an on-premises private cloud BI solution. This lets companies that might need to keep data on their own server for regulatory reasons a way to access the power of Envision.

A second distinction is that the Envision licensing model is based on floating licenses. Essentially, licenses are shared throughout the business. When one user signs off, another can make use of the same license. This is much more economical than licensing models based on seats. Envision use is also devoid of add-on fees for server enablement, data source connections, printing reports, and dashboard creation.

Envision offers a number of features and capabilities that make it ideal for the BI demands of companies today. They include:

  • Authoring capabilities for everyone: Anyone who has access to Envision can author reports (there are no viewer only licenses)
  • Extensive access control: Envision offers access control functionalities that allow any author to govern access to data at the user, group, and even role level
  • Self-service user interface: The drag and drop GUI supports data previews and user workflows for the novice and BI professional
  • Connects to popular data sources: Supports direct integrations with today’s popular data sources and Big Data engines
  • Real-time interactive visualization: Optimized for visualization and computational performance
  • Analytical data engine included: In-memory columnar data engine provides interactive, on-the-fly data analysis. However, companies can use their own engine, leverage existing data warehouse investments
  • User-specified data engine assignment: Companies can use Envision’s data engine of set any source, DB, or data engine as the default engine.

With these capabilities, users have the ability to build dashboards in minutes and modify layout with a few clicks. Additionally, they can also easily embed analytics into other applications.

The bottom line is that Envision gives companies the flexibility and ease-of-use required in a BI solution for today’s fast-paced business world. With Envision, companies can cost-effectively expand their use of BI to more people. And those users get tools that are intuitive to use that quickly deliver powerful results to help the business make faster, smarter decisions.

Try Envision for free by visiting: