The Future of Embedded Analytics
Embedded analytics is a dynamic industry, and we’re seeing new capabilities all the time. Here are the key trends that will drive this evolution over the next few years.
Infused Analytics Becomes the Standard
We see a trend towards the Infused Analytics model, where analytics becomes a core component of all software applications. It will be impossible to tell the difference between an application and the embedded analytics content. Just as B2C applications embed analytics as a natural part of the user experience and workflow, B2B applications will continue to move away from bolt-on approaches to more infused implementations. Users will simply be using their application, not two applications, to both inform and perform their work every day.
Analytics Everywhere, for Everybody
Customers today demand self-service analytics. And this need extends to more and more non-technical users who demand access to analytics within their preferred business applications. As a result, the user experience will move more into the forefront. Gone are the days when a few power users do 100% of the analysis and share the results with the rest of the team. Everyone will want access to the data so they can perform their own analysis.
You will still want to provide basic reports for the majority of your users, but know that more users will demand the flexibility to visualize data on their own and create formatted output such as dashboards and reports. Your product management and development teams will need to embrace the challenge of delivering self-service even more so than managed reporting. You will need to empower your users to ask their own questions of the data, as well as provide the dashboards to help them answer a few key questions.
More Sophisticated Analytic Capabilities
Over time, we will see the analytic capabilities themselves get more sophisticated. Gartner describes the journey that organizations take in their analytics maturity model.
- Descriptive Analytics: Describe what’s happening (e.g., sales are going up, and here’s a chart depicting that trend)
- Diagnostic Analytics: No longer just describing, now explaining why things happen (e.g., West Coast sales have plummeted because of bad weather)
- Predictive Analytics: Here’s what the next quarter is going to look like
- Prescriptive Analytics: Here’s what the future looks like, and here’s what you should do about it
Just as most companies deploy business intelligence and analytics that that lean to the left side of this model, embedded analytics also tends to be primarily descriptive and diagnostic in nature. Interest in predictive analytics continues to grow among application providers, while prescriptive analytics is the most difficult to implement, and wide adoption is expected much further out.
The future is bright for embedded analytics. Application providers continue to mature the way they embed analytics into their product as well as the self-service functionality and analytics capabilities they offer. All these innovations will make your application more valuable to your users. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?