Embedded Analytics

Top Requirements for Choosing an Analytics Platform

By Yen Dinh
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What does every healthcare organization, financial institution, and global enterprise have in common? They can’t afford to fail, so they rely on mission-critical applications to run operations smoothly and efficiently.

Any application that is powerful enough to support a complex organization will require analytics at its core. A bank relies on analytics to deliver real-time financial insights necessary to protect customers from application and online fraud. Healthcare software gives instant access to patient data to help medical teams make better decisions and improve patient outcomes.

This goes beyond your basic data visualizations and interactive dashboards. Mission-critical applications require cutting-edge analytics capabilities that will beat out the competition, are flexible enough to keep up with changing requirements, and can help end users do their jobs better.

>> Related: 7 Questions Every Application Team Should Ask Before Choosing an Analytics Vendor <<

If all you need is a few simple visualizations for a small team of business analysts, you probably don’t need a powerful embedded analytics platform. But most software applications today are distributing analytics to thousands—if not hundreds of thousands or millions—of end users, and require a sophisticated set of requirements.

Here are the top requirements for mission-critical applications that are embedding analytics:

1. Adaptive Security

Embedded analytics needs to start with security, or everything else simply won’t matter. For application teams, security scenarios can be complex and have very precise requirements. Highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and finance, often have strict legal requirements and need the ability to control access to individual records. Changes to security permissions and the data model could require reimplementation and limit sharing between groups with different access levels. If your software engineers have to recreate or replicate authentication and authorization in the analytics tool, it will negatively impact their ability to maintain, grow, and adapt the product over time.

A platform that works with your existing security framework won’t limit scalability and flexibility. Your development team won’t have to recreate or replicate security in the analytics tool separately from the rest of your application. Look for an analytics platform that leverages your security framework rather than storing user information across multiple systems.

2. Embedded Operational Reports

Operational reports deliver crucial data and analytics in specific formats. By embedding them into your application, you add value for end users by giving them interactive data visualizations and detailed information in context of the software they already use.

Business and legal documents, for instance, require precision and consistency only possible with pixel-perfect reporting. Developers get control over the properties of every report object, including tables, charts, lines, fonts and shading. This comes in handy when creating invoices and other forms. It also allows users to export to PDF, print, and archive for regulatory compliance.

Your analytics solution should give you the flexibility to customize the behavior of the report interactivity based on the specific needs of your business users. A sophisticated data engine will allow end users to drill down, pivot, filter, and sort data.

When looking for an analytics vendor, ask about capabilities that support complex requirements such as banded layouts, pixel-perfect formatting, pagination, and bursted report distribution.

3. Integrated Workflow and Write-back

Many application teams have discovered the pitfalls of making end users abandon their application every time they need to act. Jumping from one application to another frustrates customers and costs valuable engagement. A Nucleus Research report found that toggling between applications can waste one to two hours per employee each week.

Advanced capabilities such as integrated workflows and write-back empower end users to turn insights into action without leaving your application. Few applications include or even consider these capabilities. That’s a shame, because these are great ways to add value for your end users.

Both workflow and write-back means users can take action right then and there. But to get there, you need to ensure communication between the host application and your analytics. And that requires developing and maintaining a complex codebase.

When evaluating vendors, take the time to learn whether the team that supports it has a record of delivering improvements to that codebase. Ask any analytics provider you consider this question: Does their embedded analytics solution allow end users take immediate action or trigger a process from your application?

Prioritizing these top requirements will set you up for embedded analytics success. To learn more about choosing an analytics vendor for your mission-critical application, read our BI Buyer’s Guide >

Originally published October 4, 2019

About the Author

Yen Dinh is a content marketing coordinator at Logi Analytics. She has more than five years of experience writing content and is passionate about helping audiences stay updated on emerging technologies.