Embedded Analytics

The Key To Success: Driving User Adoption with Embedded Analytics

By Alvin Wong
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Many successful businesses today are subscription-based businesses that rely on a consistent stream of renewals or repeat customers. With the emergence of Software-as-a-Service business models (and led by time-based licensing before that), software is also very much a part of this phenomenon.  As a result, usage and user adoption are important indicators of the health of a business.

It then becomes vital to track metrics around usage and encourage as much usage as possible. Back during the Internet bubble, consumer Internet companies reported the number of “eyeballs” they were able to attract; today, social media sites focus on the number of monthly active users. Commercial software and SaaS providers look at consistent and rising usage as an indicator of future renewals — customers whose usage is falling are more at-risk for canceling service and become candidates for aggressive marketing tactics to increase their usage. These concepts also apply to enterprise IT applications as well. After all, one of the key ways to measure success of an internal IT application is to examine user adoption and raise usage through education and change management processes.

The BI user adoption problem
In the context of business intelligence, unfortunately, user adoption is pitiful. Research conducted by Gartner shows that only 30 percent of potential users in an organization adopt CIO-sponsored analytics tools. This is appalling considering the fact that billions of dollars are spent worldwide on these analytics tools every year, and business intelligence and analytics continues to be a top CIO priority year in and year out.

Embedded analytics drives user adoption
But there is a way out. In the State of Embedded Analytics Report, we surveyed more than 400 software and SaaS providers on how and why they embed analytic capabilities – in the form of dashboards, reports, and self-service analysis – into their software applications. We found that, on average, 51 percent of the total user base of an application uses analytics on a regular basis today. Furthermore, within two years, they expect this to grow to 68 percent of the user base who use analytics regularly. These figures are staggering compared to traditional business intelligence and analytics.



There are a few reasons that embedded analytics can be adopted so much more broadly than traditional analytics, which are primarily implemented in separate, standalone applications.

Embedded analytics is:

  1. Easier to access, because users do not need to login to a separate application;
  2. Displayed within the application, so users can view the output right away; and
  3. Integrated into the application workflow, so users benefit from the insight available to them as they are doing their everyday work.

On top of all this, we also find that by embedding analytic capabilities, software providers can increase usage of their applications. In our survey, 91 percent of software providers say embedded analytics increases end-user adoption of their application. And 90 percent say that embedded analytics helps them attract new users to their application. These results show that embedded analytics can help application providers drive usage in their products and ultimately lead to success.

Download the State of Embedded Analytics Report now to learn why and how software and SaaS providers embed analytics into their applications. 


Originally published September 18, 2014; updated on August 10th, 2017

About the Author

Alvin Wong has an extensive background in solution architecture and implementation of SaaS and business intelligence applications. Alvin earned his MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University and BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.