Let’s get real. Your BI solution may have been cutting-edge when you implemented it years ago, but when was the last time you took a close look at it? Are your users demanding new features and functions? Are your customers leaving to go to competitors? Is your development team frustrated with the inability to scale?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it might be time to break up with your BI solution. An outdated analytics solution makes it impossible to keep your end users engaged, upsell your existing customers, or win new ones. And because it’s a pain for your development team to manage, it affects the rest of your product, too—taking resources away from revenue-driving innovation elsewhere.
How do you know it’s time to replace your embedded analytics? Here are our top 5 signs:
Sign #1: Poor UI/UX
Your application’s end users are either complaining about the UI/UX of your analytics, or they’re reluctant to adopt the analytics tool in the first place because of a bad experience. This is almost always tied to poor embeddability of the solution within your business application—bad ease of use, clunky workflows, and mismatched user experiences.
Maybe your analytics interface is embedded in your application but feels like a different tool to users (which could come down to inadequate white labeling). Or maybe it actually is separate from your business application (meaning it’s not embedded at all).
Sign #2: Painful Scaling
Many legacy BI solutions have trouble scaling when they’re embedded in applications. For instance, some tools have a huge footprint when deployed in your application. Other analytics vendors force you to put all your data into their proprietary hardware, which makes it expensive to scale as your user base increases.
Sign #3: Security Inefficiencies
Old security is risky security. In addition to the risks it poses to your data, outdated security integration means that user management can quickly snowball for your development and IT teams.
For instance, replicating your existing security model (which you’ve already spent a long time building) in your BI tool is a waste of time for your backend team. So is managing two sets of users in two different places. If your solution does not support a multi-tenant environment (e.g., you can’t create reports across multiple tenants), security can be a huge burden—and it will become even more cumbersome as you scale to support more users or add functionality.
Sign #4: Demand for New Capabilities
Basic dashboards and reports will only take you so far. Today, end users are demanding sophisticated features such as embedded self-service analytics, which empowers them to ask new questions and explore their data for unique answers without regular assistance from development or IT.
They also want analytics to work with their other tools, supporting capabilities such as write-back (which lets them update information in the application’s source systems without leaving the analytics interface) and workflow capabilities (which drive action by letting users kick off a workflow from your host application).
Sign #5: Cost
If you’re using a BI tool owned by a big vendor, cost may slowly become an issue over time. Larger companies often lock you into their system—particularly if you have to keep your data on their proprietary hardware—which means they can increase the price at any time.
Cost can also become an issue if you originally deployed an embedded solution to a small number of users, but your application (and user base) has since grown substantially. Can your current BI tool scale economically to meet that increase?
Regardless of whether you built your original analytics in house or used a third-party vendor, chances are your BI solution will inevitably become antiquated—and continuing to let that insufficient solution languish could ultimately put your application at risk. We’re talking frustrated users and developers, poor user engagement, and missed revenue.
So, if you’re experiencing any of the 5 signs above, it’s time to sit down with your BI and have “the talk”—sooner rather than later.