Why data visualisations will never be enough

Five years ago, data visualisations were a powerful way to differentiate a software application. Companies succeeded by demonstrating an unmet need in the market for visually stunning dashboards.

With these capabilities came revenue: embedding even basic visualisations was often enough for product teams to charge more for their applications and set them apart from competitors.

However, today is a different story. Free visualisations and dashboards seem to be everywhere and two trends in particular are forcing application providers to rethink how they offer analytics in their products.

First, data visualisations are no longer driving revenue: Everyone from Google to Amazon now provides low-cost or no-cost visualisation tools that drive down the perceived value of analytics dashboards. Users are coming to expect at least some analytics capabilities at little or no cost.

>See also: Data with personality: the evolution of visualisation

Second, end users now expect more from analytic applications. This is in part because data visualisations are not only everywhere, they’re better than ever. Data insights are frictionless, integrated into everything from daily driving performance to home energy usage. As rich, data-driven user experiences are increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, end users are demanding new standards for how they interact with their business data.

This means visualisations alone aren’t enough to set an application apart. So is there still a way for product teams to monetise embedded analytics? Yes, but it requires offering more than basic dashboards and reports.

Like every other feature in your application, the world of embedded analytics is not static. The outer bounds of capabilities are constantly evolving. At the same time, older capabilities like data visualisations—which used to feel modern and innovative—have become commoditised.

Unlike traditional business intelligence (BI) tools, which require users to open a separate application for analysis, embedded analytics puts data in context of the applications users already love. Deeply embedding analytics has three key benefits:

1. Satisfy unmet user demand

The 2017 State of Analytics Adoption Report found that demand for analytics is expanding beyond what standalone analytics tools can provide. Eighty-four percent of business users say they want access to analytics within the applications they’re already using.

>See also: Data is driving new skill requirements

This comes as no surprise, since users are primed by their consumer experiences. As more users have relevant information at their fingertips to book flights, purchase consumer goods, and shop for houses, they bring similar expectations to their workplace—and specifically to their applications.

2. Increase user adoption and engagement

Users are not just demanding embedded analytics, they are adopting it at higher rates than traditional standalone BI. The same survey found that users find traditional BI tools difficult to use. They don’t like switching from their usual applications to log into a separate tool, and they don’t have easy access to analytics tools within their workflows.

That’s one reason why embedded analytics sees such a high adoption rate — 60% of end users who have access to embedded analytics actually leverage those tools on a regular basis. That’s compared to a 21% adoption rate of standalone self-service analytics tools.

>See also: How visual analytics helps business unlock data’s full potential

What’s more, according to the recent State of Embedded Analytics Report, 82% of application teams say time spent in the application increased after they added or improved their embedded analytics offerings.

3. Charge more for a better user experience

In the report, more than 78% of ISVs with a commercial application say they charge more for their analytics offerings. And 98 percent say embedded analytics contributes to revenue growth. For companies that don’t charge for analytics, it’s often because their competition has a stronghold and they need analytics either to keep up or catch up.

In the competitive software world, customers are always ripe for churn. As product teams differentiate their applications by embedding more advanced capabilities, they’re able to win over new customers and keep their current ones. In fact, 72% of application teams are planning to invest more in their embedded analytics capabilities within the next 12 months.

The bottom line? Embedding modern analytics means long-term revenue. Weaving analytics into the fabric of your application and maturing the features you’re offering makes your application stickier and leads to better adoption—ultimately translating into higher sales and renewals.

>See also: The analytics evolution: what’s next?

The key is to plan now. Companies that wait to enhance their embedded analytics may end up scrambling to improve their offerings after they lose key customers to the competition. By going beyond canned visualisations and dashboards, you can uniquely position your application in the market and base your offerings on new analytics capabilities that empower users to do their jobs better, smarter, and faster.


Sourced by Tom Cahill, VP EMEA Logi Analytics


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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