Even careful shoppers can sometimes end up with an ill-fitting embedded BI solution. Maybe they accidentally misinterpret their customers’ needs or don’t look closely enough at how an implementation will scale. Or perhaps they opt for a slightly less suitable solution in the hopes that brand recognition will help them sell software subscriptions.
But popularity doesn’t guarantee customer satisfaction. SaaS providers routinely come to us looking to replace their BI solutions with something better suited to their business models and use cases. An internal study revealed that this is usually for one or more of the following nine reasons, which we’ll list in order of least-to-most prevalent. SaaS companies evaluating embedded BI solutions would do well to spend extra time on these areas to help ensure that they don’t also get stuck with software that doesn’t serve them.
#9 Better Security
SaaS applications, particularly those in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance, need their third-party software providers to have air-tight security protocols. For multi-tenant environments, this means ensuring that one customer never sees another customer’s data.
Companies contact Exago looking for embedded BI that supports row-level tenanting, or the ability to define who sees what down to the individual record. This kind of fine-grained control is critical to enterprise SaaS providers who need to meet compliance standards and protect customers’ data privacy without having to completely overhaul their data architecture. Exago BI not only supports row-level security, but also allows for a full spectrum of tenant configurations.
#8 A Scheduler That Actually Works
Schedulers are an important part of self-service BI offerings because they put tailored reports filled with fresh data right in recipients’ inboxes. No need to even log into the application!
But an inefficient scheduler can wreak havoc on your BI implementation by eating up precious processing power, overloading the database, failing to deliver reports on time (or to the correct recipients), and even causing server crashes.
SaaS providers sometimes come to us after having had so many problems with their existing BI scheduler they had no choice but to turn it off completely. We know that’s not a viable option for our clients, which is why our scheduler service is purpose-built for BI reporting and comes with scalable load-balancing capabilities that keep servers online, even during peak reporting hours. Not only that, but it also reduces reporting workloads by filtering reports based on recipients’ credentials, a process known as “bursting.”
Best of all, Exago clients don’t pay extra for the scheduler; it’s included in the subscription price (see #1 below).
#7 Better Support
The technical support you receive from a software provider can make or break the relationship, particularly if you run into a high-severity issue. We get SaaS companies looking for an embedded BI provider that will get to their questions and concerns in a timely fashion and handle them with care.
Our support team gets rave reviews because they’re prompt, knowledgeable, courteous, and helpful. They go the extra mile to provide workarounds. Exago BI’s many code extension points make it easier to devise these kinds of temporary solutions while permanent ones are in the works.
#6 Better Performance and Scaling
Sometimes SaaS companies end up with BI solutions that don’t perform well at scale. The more data, users, and/or reports they accumulate, the slower the software becomes. When users have to wait forever to run a report or view a dashboard, they grow increasingly disinclined to use the software at all. This not only becomes a barrier to operational efficiency, but tarnishes the host SaaS application’s reputation.
Being built for SaaS means being built for growth. Exago BI’s multi-tier approach to performance and scaling makes it easy for administrators to control where and how they handle load.
#5 More Comprehensive Reporting Options
In 2020, most BI providers still focus more heavily on dashboards and data visualizations than they do on tabular reporting. But, as BARC founder and CEO Carsten Bange confirms, “The importance of reporting is still very, very high.”
SaaS vendors sometimes discover too late that their customers require more reporting flexibility and granularity than their BI solution can offer. In these cases, they come to Exago looking for modular reporting options they can toggle on or off, empowering users without overwhelming them with tools.
Exago BI has been focused on tabular reporting since its inception and has evolved to meet even the most niche use cases. As of right now, it has a simplified ExpressView report builder, an Advanced Report builder, a Crosstab builder for pivot tables, and a Chained Report builder (to say nothing of dashboards or the many configurable options within those builders). We believe in options.
#4 Better Embedding
Beware the bolt-on solution masquerading as embedded BI! SaaS companies say they encounter this one all the time. Not only is a bolt-on solution a sub-par experience for users, it also severely limits your application’s ability to interface with the BI tool.
To ensure that you end up with the tight integration you’re looking for, educate yourself about the nuances of application embedding. Armed with information, you can ask prospective vendors about their API offerings, white labeling capabilities, and analytics studios.
#3 Ease of Deployment
That’s right, some SaaS companies come to us because they were unable to even get their previous BI solution implemented.
A lot goes into deploying an embedded BI solution. There’s preparing the data, integrating the applications, preparing the configuration, building a library of canned reports, and any number of other ancillary steps.
The most successful implementations take between zero and three months to complete. Without adequate support and guidance from the BI provider, however, they can stretch on interminably or fail altogether.
Exago’s Services team works with each and every client to ensure a successful deployment. Services guides companies through the process of selecting their launch strategy and helps them decide how best to allocate the service hours included in their licenses.
#2 Easier Report Building
Not only do SaaS companies want more reporting options, but they want those options to be more friendly to non-technical end users. Ad hoc reporting is essential to a well-rounded self-service BI offering, and dauntingly complex report design studios just won’t get the kind of adoption SaaS vendors need.
Exago BI’s ExpressView report designer has been a hit with non-technical users since its release in 2016, and it’s seen some impressive enhancements since. The user interface is so intuitive that it requires no training or prior BI experience to use. Some of our clients like it so much that they expose only that designer in their applications.
User experience is so integral to our product decisions that we made a video series about it.
#1 Better Pricing
The number-one reason SaaS companies leave their BI providers for Exago BI is pricing.
This finding came as a surprise to us, but perhaps it shouldn’t have. Experts say that, for the first time in industry history, price has become the top factor affecting BI purchasing decisions.
Since most BI contracts have a scale-dependent price tag, it makes sense that SaaS companies would be drawn to Exago’s flat-rate pricing. Rather than pay by the user or by the server, Exago clients pay a fixed annual rate that doesn’t grow as their enterprises scale. This goes a long way to boosting the ROI of their embedded BI investments, making the software a more sustainable addition to their product offering.
SaaS providers deserve a BI solution that works for them, not against them. If your company is struggling with one or more of the above limitations, get in touch to find out if Exago BI would be a better fit.