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 information consumption. As organizations transfer from conventional desktop BI to cloud-based options, there may be an evolution by way of structure and the way in which analytics is delivered.

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

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

What does API-first imply?

API-first is an method to product growth the place APIs are considered 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 make sure that all the things within the product is consumable through APIs.

What’s headless BI?

Headless BI is a newly launched knowledge analytics structure idea to work together and devour metrics within the trendy knowledge stack. Headless BI is an analytical back-end that makes standardized metrics accessible through APIs, SDKs, and normal protocols. It’s constructed utilizing the API-first method permitting all of the analytical definitions and features to be out there by means of 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 software 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 completely different heads — knowledge instruments, ML fashions, and purposes. And since each head accesses the identical supply of metrics, headless BI ensures that everybody in your group — staff, clients, 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?

Presently, corporations are dealing with conditions the place constant metrics should 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 is just not solely making metrics out there; corporations are additionally struggling to develop analytics options and knowledge purposes in a contemporary means.

Most analytics platforms aren’t designed to help software program growth finest practices as a result of we’re not in a position to entry and handle the code we create once we construct analytics with the platforms. API-first analytics adjustments 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 continuing supply course of.

Analytics platforms constructed following the API-first method and supporting the headless BI use case may 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 may help completely different personas succeed of their roles.


Declarative APIs enable builders to handle and combine their analytics options like another software supply code. Knowledge groups can combine analytics growth into their CI/CD processes and work in parallel to model, merge, routinely take a look at, and roll out updates and new knowledge merchandise to manufacturing. And since all analytics definitions are consumable through open APIs, they’re simple to reuse or repurpose utilizing templates. For instance, when there’s a have to construct a brand new knowledge 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 enable builders to combine analytics growth into their CI/CD processes.

By serving metrics over APIs, API-first analytics enable builders to take the benefit of the developer instruments and UI frameworks of their alternative when constructing knowledge purposes, portals, and enterprise processes. They don’t have to know find out how to be part of tables or knowledge 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 result they require. Thus, they will think about 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 sooner and increase them as wanted.

Finish customers

Decoupling the analytical backend and the presentation layer permits finish customers — analysts, knowledge scientists, and enterprise customers — to make use of any knowledge software they see as one of the best match for the job. Historically, knowledge fashions and metrics needed to be created for every software individually, which is time-consuming and susceptible to errors. With headless BI, finish customers from completely different groups, departments, and areas can entry and use standardized metric definitions from a single repository and yield appropriate outcomes throughout the whole enterprise.

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

And since the decoupling makes the information stack front-end agnostic, finish customers can improve their knowledge instruments and purposes when wanted. As soon as they establish a necessity to modify from one software to a different — as a consequence of efficiency points, pricing considerations, or know-how developments — they will simply join it to the headless BI platform and proceed analyzing the information with no need knowledge 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 through its personal UI but in addition third occasion interfaces, GoodData strives to satisfy the brand new wave of information consumption necessities.

GoodData’s API-first analytics platform, along with its Headless BI function, allows corporations to develop analytics options like another software program and supply constant analytics to all finish customers and purposes. Because the chief in BI, GoodData supplies 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.

In search of 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 giant. Attempt GoodData’s absolutely managed, API-first analytics platform at no cost or learn the next sources concerning the subject:

For those who’re inquisitive about maintaining updated with us, observe us on LinkedIn.


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