BI Trends

Why User Adoption was 2016’s Biggest Business Intelligence Challenge

By Josh Martin
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In 2016, the business intelligence and analytics market went through another round of growing pains. Companies continued to invest in BI but the ROI of these investments are seemingly stalled as user adoption has reached saturation. But why has this happened, and how can app owners use this predicament to their advantage?

The first sign of tumult came in February as Tableau’s earnings came in lower than expectations and it land and expand strategy was called into question. Its stock tumbled nearly 50% from its close of $81.74 on February 4. Uncertainty in the market also led to Qlik’s purchase by private equity in June.

Despite these firms investing millions in improving the user experience, the bubble has burst on the promise of widespread adoption of and reliance on, standalone self-service tools. This was verified by Logi’s 2017 State of Analytics Adoption report, which found the adoption of these standalone data discovery tools has peaked, and in many cases has begun to decline – down 20% since 2014.

What this tells us is that those data-savvy users who want and use data discovery tools have already adopted these solutions. The broader market either does not see the value these tools offer or they’ve rejected them. This is largely because these tools introduce friction: They require users to exit their usual applications and demand additional training. Data shows that business users want to stay in one place, not jump from application to application to get what they need. In fact, 84% of business users say it’s important for them to be able to access analytics embedded within the applications they’re already using.

Failure to meet this need results in never-ending ad-hoc report requests, the need to offer never-ending training on the tools and, despite all this, lack of adoption – while at the same time, product teams lose focus on other projects/development that must be completed.

Adoption of traditional BI tools has always been a struggle, hitting a ceiling of 20-30%. But the continued decline of self-service tools highlights how big of a challenge user adoption really was in 2016.

So what do app owners need to change in 2017 to overcome this challenge?

First, app owners must realize that standalone data discovery, while right for some – is not the solution for everyone. This is unlikely to change.

Solving this means embedding analytics directly into users’ workflows. This approach has seen increased momentum lately as software vendors and IT teams realize the benefits of embedded dashboards and other inline analytics tools.

According to our 2016 State of Embedded Analytics report, 94% of independent software vendors (ISVs) and 80% of non-commercial application providers said embedded analytics is important to their users. And application providers stated that 43% of their users use embedded analytics on a regular basis. That’s double the adoption rate of traditional analytics tools mentioned previously.

In 2017, app owners – those that deploy commercial apps and those that deploy internal apps – will need modern embedded BI to drive adoption, increase reliance on their application, and reduce ongoing requests for assistance making new visualizations. By providing streamlined tools, such as embedded dashboards, that allow users to work more efficiently without friction, these solutions are more valued and valuable. So, whether teams are judged by selling more product, increasing their total addressable market, increasing average selling price, or by adoption of tools internally, the solution is adding analytics right where people are already working.

Replacing existing embedded analytics or upgrading from a solution that is no longer modern must be a key priority for companies in 2017.


Originally published December 21, 2016; updated on May 24th, 2021

About the Author

Josh Martin is the Director of Product Marketing at Logi Analytics. Prior to joining Logi he was an industry analyst covering bleeding edge distribution channels and their impact on the consumer market. In this role he was a thought leader and advised clients on how to successfully benefit from market shifts while positioning products and services for long-term success. Josh holds a Bachelor degree in Business from Babson College.