How to transform a business with embedded analytics

It’s the new status quo for business: if it doesn’t get measured, you will not get budget for it.

In other words, everyone – from sales and marketing to product and finance – is expected to leverage analytics to make data-driven decisions.

As organisations increase their expectations, business users have also increased theirs. Users want access to increasing volumes of data and information, leading many organisations to turn to self-service analytics to enable users to find what they need on their own, without having to ask IT.

Self-service analytics enables users of all roles and skill sets to access and analyse data. However, it’s not enough to just provide easy access to data analytics – businesses must make sure users actually use that information to make decisions. Yet, this has proven to be trickier than expected for many organisations.

>See also: 5 steps to creating an embedded analytics application

User tolerance for clunky interfaces and complex experiences is quickly waning. Slick consumer apps have long been integrating analytics directly within the app. For instance, look at Apple health dashboards, your budget on Money Dashboard and the breakdown of a product review on Amazon.

Users have become accustomed to having analytics at their fingertips in their daily lives. When it comes to business applications, they expect the same ease of use, and they don’t want to have to jump between several applications to analyse their data.

So how can organisations make sure their users are actually leveraging data to make business decisions? It starts with embedded analytics.

Embedding analytics into the applications workers use every day grants users a much more seamless experience, because they don’t have to access multiple tools to find the data they need.

By embedding analytics deep within a single application, businesses can empower their employees to create and share dashboards, reports and visual analytics across their organisation, with little to no support from IT.

According to the 2016 State of Embedded Analytics Report from Logi Analytics, 78% of UK respondents said that customers see embedded analytics as important.

Moreover, by enabling all employees to make data-driven decisions in the applications they’re already using, businesses can minimise the time and effort that exists between business insight and action.

Businesses should remember, however, that creating a data-driven organisation doesn’t happen overnight. Like all change in an organisation, there is a multi-step process that requires time, resources and planning.

Data-driven culture

While embedded analytics places the data and ability to analyse directly within a user’s workflow, it will likely take a little time for users to get comfortable making it part of their daily routines.

Therefore, the first step to creating a data-driven culture is to set expectations that the data needs to be leveraged on a regular basis. Try introducing charts and dashboards into internal portals, so it becomes one of the first things employees see each day.

Employees will start to develop an appetite for the data available to them, so the next step is to ensure the right data and the right capabilities are provided to the right people.

For example, a sales user will not need to see production data, and a finance user will not need to analyse marketing data about website views. Moreover, these two individuals will likely want to analyse the data in different ways.

A sales manager may just want to review simple charts measuring KPIs, while a financial analyst will want the ability to add various datasets to discover their own insights.

It is important that users have the ability to quickly gather the information they need, without having to trawl through additional data that is not relevant to their roles.

>See also: The data of design: how analytics opens new doors for embedded system design

From there, users should be encouraged to share their findings with the wider organisation. Assume that if one employee is analysing data and generating a report with that information, then there are likely several other individuals within the organisation who would also benefit from those insights.

Sharing these insights across an organisation, at a much faster pace, will enable the business to remain more competitive.

As more organisations require their employees to report on metrics, it’s more important than ever to provide users with analytics within the applications they regularly use.

Meeting the demand for analytics is not simply a case of adopting the right tools – it’s about offering the right data within the context of the applications people use every day.

Sourced from Tom Cahill, VP EMEA, Logi Analytics

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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