In a time where disruption and change have become the norm, data is the key to thriving amidst the volatility. In order to drive higher application engagement and boost customer satisfaction, product leaders and developers have to build delightful user experiences. Some organizations have turned to traditional business intelligence as a means for analyzing key data and making more informed decisions.
While traditional BI is certainly valuable, it's limited by its inability to provide insights within existing applications, creating friction and impacting workflows. Similarly, BI fails to monetize data by exposing analytical experiences to customers and end users within applications and services they’re consuming.
Modern businesses and product leaders are embracing the benefits of embedded analytics, providing rich analytical experiences right within an application or product. There are a number of reasons organizations should consider leveraging an interactive embedded analytics solution. But let’s start by defining embedded analytics.
What is embedded analytics?
Embedded analytics is the integration of robust data analytics capabilities into other relevant applications. At its core, embedded analytics helps users better understand and use data by incorporating it into their existing business applications, workflows, and software—such as your product or website.
By embedding analytics into the applications your internal teams regularly engage with—for instance your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, financial systems, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution—users gain a more data-driven approach to each part of your business. These insights improve business outcomes.
Product leaders might also look for opportunities to embed analytics into their consumer-facing product or software. By creating a user experience (UX) that incorporates interactive data, teams can create stickier products and provide additional value to the user.
It’s important to note that the process of embedding analytics is much more accessible thanks to the cloud. Because your organization’s transformed, organized, and governed data all lives in one centralized place, product teams can tap into their modern data stack and easily embed analytics into their internal and external applications. While development can still be time consuming, embedded analytics solutions streamline the process of building a UX with data.
Embedded analytics vs. business intelligence
While embedded analytics and business intelligence are similar in their objectives, they vary greatly in terms of context, use case, and results.
Embedded analytics integrates analytics into existing websites, software, or applications to enable users to unearth insights relevant to the application or associated workflow. This empowers users to take data-driven actions. The data leveraged for embedded analytics might come from a variety of sources, including the application it’s embedded into. Embedded analytics isn’t necessarily a centralized view of all your data. Instead, it provides a specific, focused overview of information to help users make smart decisions based on the context around that information.
The most successful companies aren’t just using data to power their own apps. They’re putting that data, and more importantly, the insights buried within it, into the hands of their users. By embedding analytics into your custom-facing applications, companies can build better products and find new avenues to monetize their data.
In contrast, traditional business intelligence requires users to toggle between the business apps they use on a daily basis and the separate set of tools they use for data insights. Business intelligence tools can provide immense value for managers and C-Suite decision makers, as they can gain a centralized overview of information. But because BI isn’t integrated into existing user applications and workflows, it tends to hinder productivity and efficiency. It also doesn’t offer the contextual insights needed to make swift, informed decisions within the same interface.
Examples and uses of embedded analytics
Organizations use embedded analytics to inject their everyday applications with real-time intelligence, which makes the overall user experience more meaningful and efficient. Here are a few examples:
Embedded analytics can be especially useful to businesses that rely on accurate inventory to keep up with growing (or shrinking) customer demand, particularly in times of uncertainty. A big-box retail store, for example, can leverage an AI platform that uses machine learning to analyze sales data and identify patterns—such as an increase in purchases of a certain item.
They can use that real-time information to deploy proper inventory to meet demand or to ask specific questions about their products or stores. Armed with this data, retailers can improve demand planning, inventory management, supply chain optimization, and even marketing.
A company’s internal tools (and the workflows built around those tools) can benefit from embedded analytics, too. Consider, for example, a loan broaker’s CRM. This solution should streamline business functions, including analytics, so that brokers can spend more time building relationships with clients. However, it’s important to know that analysts aren’t a technical audience, they need a clean interface with relevant embedded analytics so they can make decisions fast without switching between their CRM and BI application.
This was the case for Australia’s Loan Market Group. By embedding analytics into their CRM, they were able to seamlessly and securely integrate their cloud data into their broaker’s workflow. Embedded analytics allowed Loan Market Group to increase their broker's access to data and improve decision making across their front-line workers.
“The slick search-based interface makes it simple for our brokers to answer questions themselves in addition to the prepackaged Liveboards we are shipping with MyCRM, We knew we had found the key to dramatically accelerating our time to market for a seriously sticky and interactive version of the product.”
Santiago Murisengo, Product Manager at Loan Market Group
Within a product
Modern businesses who build products with embedded analytics are able to leverage powerful data for a better, more customizable user experience. Users can explore data within the product through simple, familiar interfaces, and implement those insights to better leverage the product. This also creates opportunities for organizations to monetize their data.
Consider the global risk analytics firm, Verisk. By adding embedded analytics to their application, Verisk Xactware, they were able to provide their customers with direct, self-service access to insurance data, helping claims professionals catch errors, report on progress, and benchmark performance.
In doing so, they were able to eliminate manually created reports, reduce wait time for those reports, and increase developer productivity by 40%. These positive business benefits also improve the UX of their application, making it more likely for claims professionals to engage with the product. Because Verisk’s bottom line is directly linked to user engagement with their data, they have also been able to profit from this improved user experience.
Key features to look for in an embedded analytics solution
It’s important to remember that not all solutions are built equally. To reap all the benefits of embedded analytics, organizations should first evaluate their options against some critical functionalities, including:
1. True self-service analytics
If you want your embedded analytics to drive value, it needs to be accessible to all users—not just technical users. Using intuitive features like search, interactive Liveboards and the ability to drill down into any data point, you can ensure users have access to the data they need when they need it.
Your embedded analytics should easily connect and sync with your modern data stack. Seeing your up-to-date data and reusing pre-written data models and descriptions is a key component delivering insights in real time.
3. Secure and governable
Not all users need access to the same data. You need to know that your embedded analytics solution also adheres to your organizational compliance standards with secure and flexible access controls.
Your embedded analytics tool should aid your business growth—not hinder it. Look for a solution that can analyze your data as it scales without slowing you down.
Look for a solution that can drive actions and automate business processes between apps like Slack, Salesforce, and Google Docs. APIs that connect your data to your processes fuel insight to action.
Last but not least, look for a developer friendly embedded analytics solution. This will allow you to get to market faster, keep your data product running smoothly, and limit developer frustrations as you grow.
Visit our developer playground to see just how easy it is to embed analytics.
Benefits of embedded analytics
Embedded analytics puts the power of data-driven insights in the hands of everyday application users. In a recent survey, 55% of global respondents reported that they already offer embedded analytics in their products, citing benefits like increased engagement, revenue, retention, activation, acquisition, and more.
Whether you’re looking to embed analytics in an internal or external-facing product, there are a variety of benefits, including:
1. Increase and create new revenue
Embedding analytics into your product is a great way to open new revenue streams—in fact, more than half of the PLA survey respondents (57%) said that embedded analytics had a direct result on their revenue.
Take it from Hari, a SaaS company that helps businesses in the hospitality sector manage their most precious resource—their people. In order to meet the growing demands of the hospitality community during the pandemic, they decided to relaunch their product. The idea behind Harri iQ is to empower hospitality managers with intelligent data insights—getting managers out of ‘firefighting’ mode so they can focus on rebuilding healthy, sustainable businesses.
Given the global circumstances, Harri was looking to accelerate their time to market and provide a real-time, self-service user experience. By leveraging their data in the modern data stack and ThoughtSpot’s easy-to-integrate, embedded analytics solution, they were able to build Harry iQ and launch three monetizable product offerings based on their target user personas.
2. Scale data-driven decisions
Embedded analytics help businesses make better decisions, as it brings insights into the right existing workflows. This empowers every user to utilize data and make smarter, data-driven decisions—not just your IT team. By enabling true self-service analytics, you also free up time for IT teams to focus on higher-value tasks. These are the process improvements that really allow businesses to scale.
For example, embedded analytics has had a huge impact on how organizations with frontline workers make choices about the business. Armed with deep insights that reflect their customers, partners, and vendors—your frontline workers can make more informed decisions at every interaction, driving better outcomes and increased customer loyalty.
Embedded analytics tools have the power to go beyond generating an insight within your application or product. With connected APIs like our SpotApps, your data can be used to trigger actions like weekly email summaries, threshold-based slack alerts, and even workflows in Salesforce.
3. Higher ROI on data products
Organizations generate massive volumes of data, but it’s only valuable if you can access it at the point of impact. Embedded analytics provides opportunities to use that data, enabling user-friendly insight that businesses can share both internally and externally. With easy governance and data controls, businesses can determine which users have access to what data and present reports or data visualizations securely.
By finding opportunities to embed data and analytics, businesses can generate revenue from customers and partners who will gladly pay for those deep, data-driven insights. For example, Just Eat uses embedded analytics within their food delivery app to help restaurant partners understand what times of the day are busiest.
These insights provide value to restaurant owners, allowing them to staff and resource accordingly. Owners can also uncover which individual stores are performing the best and what types of food are most popular in which locations. By providing these important to restaurant owners, Just Eat provides more value with the data they were already collecting—making them an invaluable partner to restaurants.
4. Competitive advantage
The actionable insights gained from embedded analytics can help an organization boost its competitive edge—for both software providers and end-users alike. Consider a company like Nue, who is on a mission to reinvent the world of RevOps. With a mission that bold, you have to have a competitive advantage.
By embedding ThoughtSpot into their product, Nue was able to give customers a truly customizable, self-service BI and analytics experience. Enabling customers to slice and dice their data by any attribute was a core component of their product offering. After receiving their initial seed round funding, Nue is using their embedded analytics functionality to drive conversations with advisors and investors.
5. Higher customer satisfaction
Because embedded analytics gives users easier, more seamless access to data, customers can quickly find answers to their questions without having to reach out for support. They can ask questions in a way that makes sense to them and gain real-time insights where they’re needed — all without having to log into, navigate, and learn a new tool. This positive user experience ads up to higher engagement. In fact, 61% of PLA survey respondents said that embedded analytics resulted in increased engagement.
Consider Data Recognition Corporation (DNC)—an organization with a long history of test and survey processing and administration for state Departments of Education, local administrators, and teachers. While looking for a way to expand their product offering and grow their annual revenue, they focused their sites on their data.
DNC’s previous workflow included moving static flat files and spreadsheets between their data warehouse and BI tool. Because this process needed to be completed by a technical user, educators experienced a delay in test results. But as educators conduct more tests online, they expect to have near real-time access to results.
Using ThoughtSpot embedded in DRC’s solution, they’ve been able to give over 55.7k users access to self-service insights on tests. This means that teachers can directly interact with their data to discover which students require additional assistance. And they can do it all with just a few clicks.
Read our guide on improving customer experiences with embedded analytics
6. Increased productivity among users
By reducing the number of tools that team members must use to collect, integrate, and analyze data, embedded analytics ensures greater efficiency. Organizations are more productive when they eliminate the technological barriers often associated with data analysis. Team members can instantly access and understand insights without having to rely on expert analysts to build dashboards or reports.
What’s more, users can easily identify and resolve issues without having to bounce back and forth between separate applications, which saves time and reduces frustrations. That’s more time back in users’ days to spend on higher-value tasks.
Build vs. buy for embedded analytics
Some organizations choose to build their own embedded analytics solution, as doing so provides them with more control of the software and more options for customization. Plus, it allows a company to handle security issues in-house, which is valuable for those that handle highly sensitive data). But building your own solution also requires a significant amount of time, dedicated resources, and a lofty budget—so it’s not the best option for every business.
Other organizations decide to leverage embedded analytics solutions that have already been built by a well-established provider. This option is less expensive and time-intensive. Plus, it doesn't require dedicating internal resources to create a custom solution of their own. Pre-built solutions generally offer greater ROI, reduced maintenance costs, and improved innovation.
Here’s how to assess the true ROI for your software investment.
Get started with embedded analytics
If you’re not providing embedded analytics to your customers, you’re likely leaving revenue-driving opportunities on the table. In fact, almost half (44%) of PLA survey respondents think that embedded analytics will boost their revenue. So what are you waiting for? Learn more about how ThoughtSpot helps businesses build interactive analytics apps, and start your free trial today.