API-First and Headless BI | What You Have to Know

The normal enterprise intelligence (BI) stack is constructed on many years of legacy applied sciences that do not match the brand new wave of knowledge consumption. As organizations transfer from conventional desktop BI to cloud-based options, there’s an evolution by way of structure and the way in which analytics is delivered.

The ever-growing variety of information customers and use circumstances requires corporations to have the ability to present analytics in an agile method – to builders, finish customers, and prospects – to help their quickly altering enterprise wants.

We’d like new methods to construct analytics to adapt to this new wave of knowledge consumption. By utilizing an API-first method and headless BI, we will construct analytics options to share constant information with all customers in the way in which they need to devour it. Thus, headless BI and API-first analytics platforms are must-haves for corporations that need to obtain the flexibleness required by fashionable analytics.

What does API-first imply?

API-first is an method to product improvement the place APIs are seen as first-class residents. The method concentrates on constructing reusable and simply accessible APIs that shopper purposes can use and devour. Historically, corporations would first develop the product after which add APIs on high of it. In API-first, this mindset is reversed — APIs are constructed first and positioned on the middle of the product. By doing so, corporations be certain that the whole lot within the product is consumable by way of APIs.

What’s headless BI?

Headless BI is a newly launched information analytics structure idea to work together and devour metrics within the fashionable information stack. Headless BI is an analytical back-end that makes standardized metrics accessible by way of APIs, SDKs, and customary protocols. It’s constructed utilizing the API-first method permitting all of the analytical definitions and features to be out there via well-documented, declarative APIs.

GoodData headless BI visualization
Headless BI ensures that everybody works with the identical constant definitions of metrics.

In conventional BI, the backend (the “physique”) is tightly coupled with the platform’s UI (the “head”). As a result of different instruments can not entry the metrics outlined within the conventional BI, every separate instrument your finish customers want should have their very own metric definitions which they will use. In headless BI, the backend and the presentation layer are decoupled, permitting metric definitions to be consumed by any variety of totally different heads — information instruments, ML fashions, and purposes. And since each head accesses the identical supply of metrics, headless BI ensures that everybody in your group — staff, prospects, and companions — works with the identical constant definitions no matter what entrance finish they use.

Why do API-first and headless BI matter in analytics?

At the moment, corporations are going through conditions the place constant metrics have to be shared and made out there for varied purposes and customers — with various ranges of technical abilities — to make higher enterprise choices. However the issue isn’t solely making metrics out there; corporations are additionally struggling to develop analytics options and information purposes in a contemporary means.

Most analytics platforms will not be designed to help software program improvement finest practices as a result of we’re not capable of entry and handle the code we create once we construct analytics with the platforms. API-first analytics modifications this paradigm by permitting us to learn and write all of the underlying metadata of the platform — in a declarative format — and offering open APIs to automate the continued supply course of.

Analytics platforms constructed following the API-first method and supporting the headless BI use case will help corporations with these ache factors and allow customers to be extra productive of their domains. Now, let’s see how API-first and headless BI will help totally different personas succeed of their roles.


Declarative APIs permit builders to handle and combine their analytics options like some other software supply code. Information groups can combine analytics improvement into their CI/CD processes and work in parallel to model, merge, mechanically take a look at, and roll out updates and new information merchandise to manufacturing. And since all analytics definitions are consumable by way of open APIs, they’re simple to reuse or repurpose utilizing templates. For instance, when there’s a have to construct a brand new information software, builders can keep away from ranging from scratch by leveraging the analytics they’ve already created.

Visualization of data analytics automation using CI/CD
Declarative APIs permit builders to combine analytics improvement into their CI/CD processes.

By serving metrics over APIs, API-first analytics permit builders to take the benefit of the developer instruments and UI frameworks of their alternative when constructing information purposes, portals, and enterprise processes. They don’t have to know learn how to be a part of tables or information units to create metrics as a result of they will simply devour the metrics from the headless BI platform and mix them as they should get the end result they require. Thus, they will focus on coding the wanted interface whereas the platform handles the computations. With open APIs and open supply SDKs (like Python and React), builders can construct customized analytics experiences quicker and broaden them as wanted.

Finish customers

Decoupling the analytical backend and the presentation layer permits finish customers — analysts, information scientists, and enterprise customers — to make use of any information instrument they see as the perfect match for the job. Historically, information fashions and metrics needed to be created for every instrument individually, which is time-consuming and vulnerable to errors. With headless BI, finish customers from totally different groups, departments, and areas can entry and use standardized metric definitions from a single repository and yield right outcomes throughout your complete enterprise.

GoodData analytics data model for external data consumers
Make the most of standardized metric definitions throughout your information instruments.

And since the decoupling makes the information stack front-end agnostic, finish customers can improve their information instruments and purposes when wanted. As soon as they determine a necessity to modify from one instrument to a different — resulting from efficiency points, pricing considerations, or know-how developments — they will simply join it to the headless BI platform and proceed analyzing the information without having information groups to rebuild metrics for them.

How does GoodData slot in?

GoodData, after in-depth analysis and testing, re-engineered its analytics platform to help the API-first method. By opening the platform to be consumed not simply by way of its personal UI but additionally third celebration interfaces, GoodData strives to satisfy the brand new wave of knowledge consumption necessities.

GoodData’s API-first analytics platform, along with its Headless BI function, permits corporations to develop analytics options like some other software program and supply constant analytics to all finish customers and purposes. Because the chief in BI, GoodData gives versatile and customizable options for all finish customers, no matter necessities or technical functionality.

Where GoodData sits in BI ecosystem
Present constant analytics to all finish customers with GoodData.

Searching for extra from GoodData?

GoodData invitations you to dive deeper into your journey by brushing up on the precious insights we offer into our merchandise and the enterprise intelligence business at massive. Attempt GoodData’s absolutely managed, API-first analytics platform at no cost or learn the next assets in regards to the subject:

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