Does this sound familiar? When you first added analytics functionality to your application, end users were thrilled. You were able to quickly build simple charts, graphs, and dashboards, and customers were willing to pay more for these insights. But the market evolves rapidly. Fast-forward to today and your basic analytics functions are no longer cutting it.
Perhaps customers are frustrated with bare-minimum capabilities. User engagement is dismal. Maybe your development team is blocked behind an ever-growing backlog of requests.
How do you know it’s time to replace your embedded analytics? Look for these five signs:
Sign #1: Increased Demand for New Capabilities
If your users are constantly clamoring for new capabilities, you’re likely facing increased customer churn.
Basic dashboards and reports will only take you so far. Today, end users are demanding sophisticated features such as embedded self-service analytics, 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).
Modern analytics capabilities are an essential part of applications today, and if your current analytics can’t provide them pain-free, then it may be time to search for a third-party tool.
Sign #2: Painful Scaling
Embedded dashboards are not a “once and done” project. The more features your end users need, the harder it becomes for your development teams to keep up. If you have only 10 users, keeping up with their needs is easy. But what happens if you grow your customer base to 100 or even more users? Building analytics in-house means you’ll have to research and develop each new capability, one at a time, inevitably delaying every product update. Every new feature takes exponentially more time and resources to deliver.
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 In addition to the risks it poses to your data, outdated security integration means that user management can quickly snowball for your development and IT teams. There’s no way to globally manage security with components, which means you’ll have to implement and maintain security separately and consistently for every component you use. You also have to ensure the components don’t have security risks themselves.
Sign #4: Time
This is the one that resonates with most software teams—you’re out of time. Time spent building something outside of your core competency is time taken away from working on your core application. Updating and maintaining your homegrown analytics requires a significant amount of time. Every time you need to update or change your analytics, you have to refactor or recode each component one at a time.
“From a dev point of view, we were struggling to make it work,” recalls Maurice Davidson, Senior Developer at Youmanage. “Every time we had to build out a custom report for a client, or when something went wrong, it would take forever to fix because we had to go back in and relearn the code base before we could make any changes. It was a lot of time spent relearning the system or playing around with it trying to make it work instead of adding value.”
Sign #5: Cost
Staying on the “build” track has one certain pitfall: ballooning costs in the long run. It will take a lot of work to maintain and adapt your software to ensure its usability and stability once it’s on the market. If your team utilized component libraries to build their analytics, they may run into problems such as consistent versioning and issues with the components working together. In general, components are not backwards compatible, and a single upgrade may lead to regression issues.
The cost of purchasing components is only the tip of the iceberg. Building analytics will cost more than you expect—in time, resources, focus, and at the bottom line.
Does your application fail to offer deeply embedded analytics, empower users with self-service capabilities, or provide sophisticated capabilities that keep users in your application? Are you constantly hearing complaints from your engineering team about how difficult maintenance is, or facing prohibitive costs whenever you try to scale? If yes, you’re being held back by outdated analytics.