Embedded analytics are quickly becoming the equivalent of “bang for your buck” in the business intelligence world. For those unfamiliar with embedded analytics, they are reports and visualizations that are inserted directly into existing websites and applications. They are typically specific to the context currently at hand for the user, such as numbers pertaining to the customer that a salesperson is viewing at that point in time.
Embedded analytics differ from their standalone analytics counterparts in that, rather than requiring significant development time and being accessible only within an analytics silo that must be accessed separately, they are fast and inexpensive to develop and can be inserted into virtually any other application.
Let’s take a look at five of the top embedded analytics benefits and why they can have such a significant impact on your business:
Historically, analytics and business intelligence deployments would require weeks or months of planning and development time. These rigid, custom-coded applications would suck up internal resources, pulling developers away from other important projects. One of the most obvious embedded analytics benefits is the resulting reduction in development time and speed to market. Rather than investing time and money into custom-coded applications, you now can intuitively connect to multiple disparate data sources and create visualizations and reports via one user-friendly interface with today’s visual analytics tools.
Not only are embedded analytics becoming faster to deploy, but they also require less development time from your technical resources, or sometimes none at all. Many visual analytics tools are becoming so intuitive that business users can often create the visualizations themselves, with minimal technical knowledge, allowing development resources to focus on other key internal needs.
Even the embedding process is often so simple that it can be completed by the developers in a matter of minutes. The initial cost of creating embedded analytics is often lower than that of standalone or custom-coded solutions by multiple orders of magnitude.
If reduced development time is one of the key embedded analytics benefits, then so is a drastic reduction in ongoing support. For many of the same reasons that embedded analytics do not require much up-front investment in development time, maintenance and upgrades are minimal. New or changed data is easy to connect, visualizations are simple and intuitive to update, and the embedded code changes little or not at all. In many cases, business users can continue to support much of the visualizations themselves with minimal assistance from internal developers.
Particularly because visual analytics are relatively new in general, they are often supported by the same development staff that is responsible for core competencies, such as maintaining company websites, transactional databases, HR systems, sales engines, and accounts payable and receivable systems. Clearly, these other core applications benefit by keeping development and support efforts focused on them rather than on the creation of visualizations and reports.
This benefit is two-fold:
Although time to market and low development costs are extremely desirable, perhaps one of the most important embedded analytics benefits is the competitive advantage gained by focusing on powerful, context-specific analytics technology. Applications that are centric to business users provide them with the information they need to tackle whatever challenge is currently at hand. They may use an embedded pricing engine to strategically raise or lower prices, filtered marketing analyses to locate the ideal new customer, or streaming operations data to cut off issues before they become a major concern.
Consumer-focused applications with embedded analytics provide for a more enjoyable user experience. The end customers may enjoy the challenge of keeping up with their friends, the receiving of offers that are based specifically on their preferences, or suggestions on how to improve their experience based on demographics relevant to them.
These five points, while not all-encompassing of the embedded analytics benefits, highlight some of the key cost, time, and competitive reasons why a business focused on delivering state-of-the-art analytics stands to succeed. The accelerated development time and speed to market allow development staff to focus on other internal needs, such as the business’s core competencies. Perhaps more importantly, the right use of embedded analytics provides a distinct competitive advantage in that the business knows more about its customers (and vice versa) than its competitors do. That knowledge, as it turns out, is something that money and time cannot necessarily buy.