Product Review: Izenda Embedded BI Platform
Every enterprise IT company has a need to make data-driven decisions on a consistent, often daily, basis. As a result, business intelligence platforms are continuing to be popular, and their demand is even increasing. However, there are demands on such platforms that might be invisible to both end users and corporate IT executives. Both parties want real-time analytics that is capable of handling increasing amounts of data, so BI platforms need to continue improving as a result. Izenda is one vendor attempting to create a solution that delivers results quickly, is user-friendly and integrates seamlessly. Read on to see how the Izenda Embedded BI Platform attempts to accomplish all of these things and deliver additional functionality.
A critical portion of what makes the Izenda offering stand out from its competitors is in the name – it’s an embedded platform. Its design, to allow business clients to embed the platform into existing software applications, is not indicative of all BI platforms on the market today.
Izenda’s offering of an embedded platform, as opposed to a stand-alone solution, means that the product is embedded within an enterprise’s production applications, both for customer data and internal data. The Izenda platform builds on top of Microsoft .NET framework, providing analytics capabilities that are beyond those of Microsoft’s in-house analytics applications (SSRS and Power BI). Broadly speaking the platform provides data reporting, dashboards and visualizations. It provides these features with real-time data gathering and also includes an open API for seamless product integration. In the past, Izenda has stated that its platform can be ready for deployment in ISVs (independent software vendors) in a range of 2-8 weeks.
The Izenda platform is browser-based, and the look-and-feel is rendered in HTML5, which means it is supported by virtually all devices. Since Izenda is based on Microsoft .NET framework, it is a snap to deploy on Microsoft environments and has also been deployed on some Linux environments thanks to the development of the .NET core. From a UI perspective, the Izenda platform allows for user customization of the home screen, which is drag-and-drop. Overall, the UI is easy to use, including the ability to filter data and to create conditional expressions and formatting. Dashboards can also be created using this interface, and those dashboards can be printed or shared for viewing on a different device.
From a data perspective, the Izenda platform has an automated query building engine, which is an important selling feature. This means that business customers do not need to know SQL or even have a clear picture of the database model to gain valuable insights from the data. It also automatically recognizes existing constraints (primary and foreign key relationships), tables and database views. It is also possible to connect to an external Microsoft SQL or Oracle database. Once the user is connected, Izenda’s code-based API can be used to categorize, configure and secure data. All aspects of data report creation may be performed by the user to make Izenda a complete self-service solution.
A critical portion of what makes the Izenda offering stand out from its competitors is in the name – it’s an embedded platform. Its design, to allow business clients to embed the platform into existing software applications, is not indicative of all BI platforms on the market today. I spoke to Lee Nagel, Izenda’s VP of Marketing, about this phenomenon. He extolled the benefits of using an embedded platform over a stand-alone application. Speaking about stand-alone solutions, he said “This requires software developers and other scarce resources to work in separate, often desktop based designers to produce the reports and dashboards customers want and then deliver a limited ‘self-service’ experience. End users are limited to viewing and modifying existing reports or dashboards. Izenda allows software companies to embed the entire experience, including the report and dashboard design, inside of their application workflow.”
There are a number of other platforms that have different strengths and weaknesses to Izenda’s. Some are open-source but typically require a team of programmers to be able to use – these include Jaspersoft, SpagoBI and Birst. Some of these, including Birst and YellowFin, also support embedded BI via an API. Izenda does not necessarily compete directly with any of these, however; Izenda competes against companies like Logi Analytics and JReport, which emphasize ease of use for creating visuals and efficiently working with data. (Note that popular applications such as Tableau, Spotfire and Qlik are not direct competitors to Izenda because they are not meant for purposes of embedding and are more intended for expert analysts.)
As far as pricing goes, Izenda features an annual subscription with OEM-friendly pricing. There is an unlimited use license and no hidden fees that would make the total price difficult to predict. Specifically, Izenda does not charge extra for plug-ins, connectors or modules. Nagel also notes that the Izenda solution has no per-user or per-core fees that would complicate matters for their business clients. For those not ready to commit to a full purchase, Izenda offers a live demo or 14-day free trial.
Izenda’s Embedded BI Solutions
Izenda’s Strategic Review