Benefits Companies Realize After Adoption
No less an authority than Gartner Research describes analytics as “statistical and mathematical data analysis that clusters, segments, scores and predicts what scenarios are most likely to happen” in a business.
Gartner goes further and defines embedded analytics as the “use of reporting and analytic capabilities in transactional business applications.” It follows these definitions by explaining a rather salient point of its research into business intelligence: that if analytics capabilities reside outside an application (e.g., using existing third-party analytic infrastructures), the experience using data and managing analytics must be seamless so that users won’t be forced to leave their application – because they won’t.
So, does Gartner’s research and reports of a surging BI software marketplace indicate a brave new world for the B2B application economy?
It certainly looks that way. Everyone from Sales and Marketing to Finance and Legal now expect to see more than raw data in their daily reports, assignments and tasks. “We want ANALYTICS!” – easily and quickly – demand teams.
Besides staying “in-app,” users want to interact with data through customizable dashboards in visual chunks that translate to actionable intelligence.
Enter: embedded analytics (EA).
What embedded analytics does
An embedded analytics tool literally inserts the means to derive intelligence from business application processes. This capability allows any team to mine, manipulate, manage and otherwise use extracted data to trigger decisions or to justify alterations to current business plans.
EA delivers business intelligence at the application level. Through a comprehensive and integrated workflow from within core business platforms, embedded analytics provides insight that was once the domain of standalone analytics applications.
And this “internalness” can be considered EA’s biggest advantage.
Because EA integrates with an existing application and subsequently delivers intelligence that is organic, seamless, and unassailable, it can drive business performance in new directions through process automation and users’ faith in the veracity of its analytics.
Triple-tier drill down and research disclose deeper insights
That “actionable” intelligence comes from a three-tier drill down. EA provides intelligence:
- On a process – uses data strategically to identify trends and analyze business performance metrics. For example, data returned from continuously monitoring a market for competitor prices, new product releases, or promotional campaigns can direct a company to maintain or adjust its strategy.
- In a process – changes a process while it’s happening. For example, an email fundraising campaign could be modified if analytics show early returns greatly diverge from expectations.
- Drives a process – uses metrics to automatically trigger decisions or modify process flow. For example, data delivered about capital operations from a CMMS could streamline future production cycles to avoid maintenance downtime, thereby optimizing output.
If a triple dose of crème brulee analytics isn’t reason enough for EA’s surging popularity, consider this: Users want insights in context, not in separate applications. According to a recent survey on adoption of analytics solutions, 84 percent of business users prefer access to analytics within the applications they’re already using.
Research shows that when users leave a business application to parse data in a standalone analytics tool, the retrieved analytics frequently gets ignored or discarded. It would seem, then, that EA resolves those adopt-and-use dilemmas that have plagued standalone tools. Not surprisingly, after embedding analytics, 84 percent of respondents say time spent in application increased.
If that advantage isn’t enough, here’s another handful
EA amplifies its “in-app” benefit with additional bonuses.
- Familiar environment = better user experience: Nearly all companies agree that a successful application starts with a great user experience (UX). And great UX starts with familiarity. And familiarity – with a veteran application – is where EA begins. Ninty-five percent of respondents say EA improves their customer satisfaction level and 98 percent agree that EA improves the overall user experience for their application. Parsing those numbers, that’s success.
- Less onboarding time means high value: EA platforms typically cost less than stand-alone platforms. And the in-app integration minimizes onboarding time and shortens the learning curve. Less training in a familiar environment pays dividends in employee motivation and getting EA up to speed.
- BI pervasiveness: The capacity to hitch analytics to any manner of business application spreads the wealth of insight and actionable intelligence. Whether a team is working in HR, Marketing, Manufacturing, Distribution, etc., EA’s near-universal application produces intelligence previously unavailable that, for the first time, provides precise snapshots of a company’s performance.
- Feeds a data-driven culture: Department leaders clamor for analytics. Where a stand-alone analytics tool can be more bandsaw than scalpel, EA’s intuitive user experience and affordability lets any team take the initiative to plumb the depths of its respective database, assess, and act. EA means analytics for all.
- Elicits smart business decisions: Drilling down into an application’s data that was once siloed or inaccessible results in revelatory insights. EA’s breadth and depth disclose data once concealed like the Tomb of Tut. The more intelligence revealed to decision makers, the stronger and more strategic the decision.
Breadth, depth, affordability, and insight. These four characteristics should earn embedded analytics worthy consideration from your company. The handful of advantages make it an acquisition no-brainer if you’re in the market for an analytics platform to help grow your business.
Keith Craig is Better Buys’ Content Marketing Manager. He has more than a decade of experience using, researching and writing about business software and hardware. He can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.