So, I thought I would sit down and explain what embedded analytics means to me and why I am so passionate about it. Also check out Kevin Lobo’s blog “The Key to Embedded Analytics and How it provides Value for Your Business”
Firstly, it is important to understand that Embedded Analytics, whilst having similar traits to the wider Business Intelligence market, is a growing sector that is 100% focused on the embedding of information into the heart of a user’s workflow. This sector is being fuelled by the huge growth and adoption of cloud-based systems. Users of these cloud-based business applications are craving more and more data about their customers, products, sales pipeline, marketing effectiveness, I could go on, but you get the idea.
So, SaaS vendors are under pressure from their customers to deliver analytics against their data. Users tend to want this information at the right moment and with the right focus. The want to avoid the “swivel chair” issue of having to move to a different application and instead now want information infused within the application workflows, this is where embedded analytics takes centre stage. Unlike generalist Business Intelligence vendors, who need to cater for all types of companies, personas, and use cases, Embedded Analytics vendors focus on enabling vendors to seamlessly integrate their solutions.
So, this is where it becomes much more than pretty charts and numbers as when you are designing and developing analytics solutions that seamlessly integrate with another vendors solution there are a few key things you think about way before pretty charts.
Here are my key things that I believe are important for Embedded Analytics and what you should look for when selecting your embedded analytics vendor.
Security & Authentication
To infuse analytics into user’s workflows you need to ensure that your solution integrates into your authentication stack.
It is important to make sure all your user, roles, responsibilities, and data restrictions are aligned and that your analytics adhere to this. Let’s face, it no-one likes logging into multiple platforms but more importantly you want to make sure the information delivered is focused for the user’s task at hand. It also means that you place a firewall around your data that means your users’ do not affect the performance of your application.
Cloud vendors deploy their solutions in a variety of different ways and need to integrate into their stack rather than trying to shoehorn in a vendor’s solution. Embedded Analytics vendors understand how important deployment is to DevOps and offer multiple deployment options from private containers to public cloud to cloud.
Look and feel
Companies take time to make their applications look and feel a certain way. A lot of time is spent wireframing and designing UI/UX to streamline the user’s workflows and overall experience. So therefore, there is nothing worse than finding out your business intelligence vendor has a huge ego and insists on having the logo of their company/product name front and centre in the application. This is a big bugbear of mine as I believe the solution should be easily customisable and make your customers instantly feel at home. I am not saying Embedded Analytics vendors have low egos, but they certainly understand their market and I would say white labelling is something that sets them apart from the mainstream BI vendors.
Great visualizations and analytics
I was being tongue in cheek with the blog title, great visualizations and analytics are important as I have outlined, but they should not be the first thing on your requirements list. So, what should you look for? A good set of visualizations that can enable you to tell a story around your data and remember it is not always about just the top-level numbers as your users will want to filter and drill down to explore lower levels of detail.
Whilst a dashboard will also tell a great visual story for you it may also be useful to think about delivering more detailed interactive reports in the heart of a user workflow that they can collaborate around with colleagues or even take offline and review at a later stage.
And always have one eye on the future with the use of predicative analytics that can give your customers insights into future trends or identify factors that could be causing issues.
If you are embarking on a project to embed analytics into your application, then why not download our Embedded Analytics for SaaS Playbook?
About Zandra Moore
Zandra is CEO and co-founder at Panintelligence, an embedded analytics company focused on enabling SaaS vendors to deliver visual storyboards, interactive reports, and predicative analytics into the heart of their application workflows.