Embedded analytics is one of the most powerful and effective BI strategies for businesses looking to boost their data-driven decision-making. Many businesses that have struggled to use BI to drive insight in the past have found success with an embedded strategy.
However, some businesses can find it hard to make embedded analytics work for them. For one reason or another, these businesses aren’t able to access the power of embedded analytics, and their BI strategy is suffering as a result.
Embedded analytics can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to boost their data effectiveness, but it can be very hard to make it work for some companies and situations.
To ensure embedded analytics success, businesses need to know what they’re doing, follow best practices for embedded BI, and figure out how and where embedded analytics fits into their data strategy as a whole.
What is embedded analytics?
Before a business starts to struggle with embedded analytics, they need to at least know what it is. This way, they can formulate strategies and come up with implementations that make use of embedded analytics’ unique features.
Embedded analytics is a style of BI implementation where dashboards and visualizations are built into external pages that aren’t managed by the BI vendor. This way, businesses can display data analytics to people who don’t have access to their BI tool.
Businesses are generally interested in embedded analytics for a few key reasons. Other businesses may have their own reasons, but these are the reasons most businesses choose that analytical style.
Perhaps the most compelling reason businesses have for choosing embedded analytics is its cost savings.
As a business grows, the cost of its BI implications grows with it. There are some costs that businesses can’t help, like increased processing power and storage demands, but there are some they can manage, like the number of user seats they buy.
Because most vendors charge by user seat, that means the more people that a business adds to their BI tool, the more they have to pay for their BI implementation. That puts many businesses in a dilemma over BI access.
If too many people have credentials and can access the tool, businesses will end up paying way too much for their BI tool. On the other hand, if they limit the amount of people working with data, their data implications will be limited as well.
Embedded analytics sidesteps this issue by allowing businesses to make their dashboards and visualizations public to anyone. This way, businesses can limit the amount of user credentials they give out, without limiting data access.
For some other businesses, data access is the key reason they’ve invested in this style of implementation, and the cost savings are just secondary. Increased data access definitely brings benefits of its own, and embedded solutions quickly pay for themselves.
What are some benefits of embedded analytics?
Beyond cost savings, embedded analytics can benefit a business in many different ways. Even if your business isn’t worried about its bottom line and reducing the cost of its BI implementation, these benefits should be enough to convince anyone that embedded analytics is worth their time.
Embedded analytics can help businesses streamline their workflows, especially in situations where regular BI implementations have disrupted them.
Many businesses want their average employees to use BI implications to help them make their day-to-day decisions, but they have trouble actually encouraging their employees to use their BI tool.
If an employee or team already has an effective, streamlined workflow, then trying to introduce a BI tool into that can be difficult. If an employee has to stop working to log into their BI tool and check their metrics, they’re just not going to check their metrics.
BI tools have to meet their users halfway. Employees need to use them to make their decisions, but you can’t expect employees to upend their workflows to integrate them. Embedded analytics can help BI tools meet employees halfway.
Through embedded analytics, you can embed important BI visualizations and dashboards in locations that your employees visit every day, like a company portal or on a local network.
By streamlining data access, businesses can provide data analytics to parts of their business that have never had it before. Because embedded analytics lowers the cost of a BI strategy, businesses can bring BI to departments where it wasn’t cost-effective before.
This helps to make even more parts of a business’s operation data-driven. Embedded analytics is an essential part of building a company-wide data culture, where every user in any department can access BI analytics and make data-driven decisions.
With more people viewing data and performing analysis on it, businesses can get fresh perspectives on their operations, find novel insights, and encourage everyone to let data lead their decisions.
This sort of strategy, where data insight is primarily led by average employees instead of top-down data experts, is called ‘data democracy.’ This approach allows businesses to use data for more ambitious reasons, react in an agile way to business problems, and outcompete other businesses in the same industry.
How do I ensure embedded analytics success?
Embedded analytics can clearly be very valuable to any business. It’s not just about managing BI costs; it’s about streamlining data access, integrating workflows with BI, and making data more democratic.
This style of implementation can bring huge benefits to any business that does it, but actually ensuring that sort of embedded analytics success is a tall order. To access the maximum value from their embedded analytics systems, businesses need to follow these strategies.
Train your employees on data analytics
Embedded analytics relies, more so than most other BI strategies, on effective buy-in from average employees and end users. Embedded BI is designed to empower the average employee, so the average employee needs to know how to use embedded BI to power their success.
At the very least, employees need to know the basics of reading a BI dashboard. They should be made familiar with what they should be looking for on charts and graphs, what sort of trends are good and bad, and how to spot relationships between data.
At a broader level, employees will need coaching and training on how to incorporate data into their workflows and decision-making. It’s not enough to give users access to a dashboard; they need to be shown how that dashboard can help them.
Lastly, make sure there are channels that employees can use to pass data insights and novel ideas up the chain. Embedded analytics can allow for broader insight from the average employee, but that employee has to believe their voice will be heard when they speak up.
Set your goals
Businesses need to sit down and figure out what they want to get out of their embedded implementation before they design their first embedded dashboard.
At a broad level, this means a company needs to figure out what sort of operational problems they hope to solve with their embedded analytics. Maybe employees aren’t utilizing the BI tool effectively, or limited data access has created a clique of data experts.
After they’ve set their broad embedded goals, businesses need to figure out how they’re going to measure their success. Just like with regular goal attainment, businesses need to figure out the metrics that show them if their strategy is working.
Goal-setting is also extremely important at the dashboard level as well. Just like with any other dashboard, designers need to figure out what sort of information their end users want and how best to deliver it to them.
It’s somewhat harder to design an effective embedded dashboard because the audience is much broader than in other situations. Still, by realizing the goals of the dashboard and what it needs to communicate, designers can make effective visualizations.
Focus on the basics
Beyond that, ensuring the success of an embedded analytics strategy is similar to ensuring the success of any other BI strategy. Use effective metrics, encourage data-driven decision-making, and build dashboards that are effective and insightful.
The basics of embedded analytics aren’t any different than BI basics; it’s just the method of access that’s changing. As long as you successfully adapt to that, your embedded strategy should go just fine.
Embedded analytics—make BI easier
Embedded analytics can help businesses bring their data insights to their whole organization. By improving and streamlining data access, businesses can encourage data-driven decisions from every employee, every team, and every department.