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Embedded analytics: A building block towards productizing data

analytics
(Image credit: Image Credit: Bluebay / Shutterstock)

Modern data-driven companies are constantly looking for insights everywhere. And so are their customers. For any modern company, and especially for those companies providing software through the cloud (SaaS), customers want to access and interact with data to gain quick insights and make more informed reliable decisions. To address this growing need, applications are now being built with analytics embedded, providing customers with all the insights they need. In fact, according to a recent Gartner report, over a quarter of all analytics capabilities are now embedded within business applications. So, what is embedded analytics and how can this help companies ‘productize’ their data and improve their business? 

Building smarter applications, block by block… 

Businesses that have adapted fast to the benefits of actionable insights are the ones that are now starting to emerge as the leaders in their field: this involves fast, and easily accessible data analysis taken directly from within their core business workflow. With traditional Business Intelligence (BI) solutions typically lacking integration and accessibility between data and the end business user, embedding analytics into an application is a rapidly growing category of IT with its roots firmly in data visualization, BI and data analytics. 

Essentially, embedded analytics involves the integration of an analytics solution into a product. One approach to doing this is for a business to build an analytics platform in-house, but the complexity of analytics features is often underestimated, and this can become something that escalates into a long-term project with considerable added expense. Another approach that can be taken is to embed a ready-made analytics solution or dashboard into an application directly which then connects to any source to start visualizing and then analyzing the data. This is similar to how retailers use the likes of Stripe or Braintree for their payment solution, this API ‘building block’ approach also applies to business applications to help improve the customer experience. 

Adapting to ever-changing demands 

Organizations of all shapes and sizes - SaaS, IoT providers or service organizations – are continually having to adapt to changing business demands and challenges. To do this, they need to gather and use the data that pops up everywhere, from sales business software, automated marketing campaign applications, maintenance monitoring apps and project and budgeting tools to IoT services and even health and insurance products.  

Where, once, companies would export and analyze data manually to gain these detailed insights, there are now countless software tools coming to market that allow business professionals to make the most of this data and embedded analytics dashboard integration is becoming a critical part of the mix. In a world where data is everywhere, but few have the capabilities to truly understand and use it, dashboard integration has the power to enable any user to easily and securely visualize and analyze data inside their core applications and turn the vast amounts of information within their systems into valuable business assets. 

Companies such as Selligent, for instance, a SaaS company that provides cloud-based software that allows other companies to reach customers across all channels and devices, such as newsletter and email campaigns. Selligent is currently using embedded analytics within its applications to measure the success of its campaigns so that they can be tailored to become even more targeted and adaptable to changing demands. As another example, the University of Antwerp is currently using an embedded analytics dashboard integration as part of the world’s largest IoT gardening project involving over 5,000 people to better understand the changing demands and impact of climate change on our own back gardens. All participating users were able to remotely access and interact with the data through their own unique embedded analytics dashboard, which displays visualizations such as the highest and lowest measured soil temperature, air temperatures and soil humidity. In addition to sharing this data with the project team, each citizen scientist is able to view and understand the statistics of their individual garden, as well as comparing their garden’ soil temperature levels and impact on plants and trees with other participants in the area through social media. 

Data for everyone at any time 

Projects involving data analysis and dashboarding in the past typically took several months, if not longer before the first meaningful and usable data dashboards started to appear and even then, people on the business side were rarely involved or privy to the information being collated. Now, it is possible for anyone within the organization to complete rich data analysis in an easy, accessible way due to companies integrating seamlessly existing, no / low code analytics platforms into their products or business applications. 

There is no greater knowledge than that of real-time business information that everyone in an organization can readily see and understand. Smart SaaS platforms or business applications can quickly enable the exploration of data and valuable insights for businesses thanks to the simplified integration of data software building blocks in their own products suites. Through visual, easy-to-use dashboards, which everyone within an organization can access, very quickly an entire organization can become an analyst and navigate through data as they need at any given time. This could be by accessing basic overviews in high-level dashboards or drilling down in precise detail to find more specific information on a particular aspect.  

By improving access to actionable data and using dashboard integration to democratize data intelligence, embedded analytics is becoming critical for organizations looking to operationalize and productize their data to drive innovation and improve financial performance. Today, embedded analytics platforms are becoming widely used across all sorts of organizations to simplify the integration of data and empower business users to explore their data themselves and allow them to make quicker more calculated data-driven decisions to improve their offering and to also understand their customers’ needs better. This is the real benefit of embedded analytics. To empower everyone, no matter their role with visualized data dashboards to make more accurate decisions based on the data within their core applications.

Karel Callens, CEO and Founder, Cumul.io

Karel Callens is the CEO and Founder of Cumul.io.