Success with embedded analytics requires a focus on the user experience, understanding the value analytics brings to each persona, and matching capabilities to users’ needs.
With analytics, there’s a lot of functionality that can overwhelm users; this includes any of the visualizations, interactivity, and data that is displayed. But for many users, and especially for those who are just starting out, you should give them only the functionality and specific data they need to work smarter. Release more functionality and data as adoption grows and new questions arise.
Here are five steps to create a great embedded analytics application that will drive both user satisfaction and adoption.
1. Create user profiles – Understand who your target users are as well as their roles and responsibilities. Keep in mind that these may be new users who do not currently use your application.
2. Determine the value of analytics – For each profile, identify the problems analytics can help address, and then qualify and quantify the value analytics brings. Usually, value can be expressed as increasing efficiency and effectiveness, increasing revenue, reducing costs, or improving customer satisfaction.
3. Identify the best-fit analytic experience – Match users to one or more personas that best describe how they need to work with data:
- Information consumers prefer a defined experience in which they view information that has been prepared for them, interact with dashboards and reports, and personalize individual views of this information.
- Content creators want a managed experience where they query governed data sources, create dashboards and reports, and share what they’ve created with colleagues.
- Data analysts need a self-directed experience where they start with a blank canvas, connect to their own data sources, and discover new insights in a more exploratory manner.
4. Match functionality to user needs – With analytics, there’s certainly a lot of functionality that can overwhelm users; this includes any of the visualizations, interactivity, and data that is displayed. But for many users, and especially for those who are just starting out, you should give them only the functionality and specific data they need to work smarter. Release more functionality and data as adoption grows and new questions arise.
5. Choose the depth of integration – Think about how analytics will be integrated into the user experience of your application. Just as we have seen how consumer web applications embed analytics deep into the context of the application workflow, this could very well be a way to improve the user experience and create a differentiated product.
Taking these steps will help you develop project requirements and prioritize project phases.
User Experience Example
Let’s say you have a set of healthcare applications. These might be the user stories you construct.
- When treating a patient, a doctor wants to see a historical trend of vital metrics, or wants to compare current metrics to a peer group, all within the context of the patient record. This is a purely defined experience with little interaction. Having access to this information makes the doctor much more efficient and improves her ability to provide superior patient care.
- Every time a hospital administrator logs in, he wants to see a dashboard showing critical inventory levels of equipment and critical aging of assets. This is a report he needs to create on a periodic basis. If he sees that items need to be replenished, he can immediately choose to authorize the purchase of new equipment from the dashboard, enabling efficient delivery of patient care while effectively controlling costs. This effort has led to a 5 percent decrease in yearly wasteful spending.
- An analyst might be researching hospital readmissions and looking for new patterns that inform where readmissions are highest and which phase of the patient care cycle needs to be closely monitored. This analysis must be widely accessible for others to create reports. It can to lead greater compliance with industry standard rates for readmissions, resulting in improved patient care and a 10 percent reduction in costs.
Now, let’s look at a capabilities map showing a wide range of functionality and hone in on the capabilities you need:
Once you map your capabilities, you will be able to better focus your efforts on the capabilities that truly matter to your end users. Moreover, you can create different views for different users, to ensure the capabilities that are most important are front and center – leading to improved decision making.