User expectations have been digitally transformed. People now expect information to be available at their fingertips – whenever they want it, wherever they are. Today, when a question pops into our head, we immediately grab our smartphones to find the answer and choose the technologies that provide the most optimized and visually appealing analytic experience.
Often times, the best examples of meeting this immediate demand for information comes from consumer web applications, which have mastered the art of simultaneously displaying data in intuitive ways and driving effortless transactions in their products.
Consider applications such as Amazon, Kayak, and Zillow. These companies have leveraged analytics to build their businesses on providing data. Through user-friendly apps, they are driving users to their websites. And by embedding analytics as an integral part of their design, they are growing their user base, differentiating themselves from competitors, and driving revenue.
And it’s the seamlessly embedded aspect that is key to their success.
In the 2013 Global Tech Market Outlook report, Forrester explains that companies looking to deliver analytic capabilities should not rely on general business intelligence tools, which do not help users work smarter; instead, tools should be designed for and embedded into the task at hand. Enter embedded analytics, where applications provide data-driven insights “in the moment” of every decision and every action.
Let’s take a look at three consumer apps and how they are integrating analytics to create a more successful user experience:
AMAZON: Fast Transactions Embedded Data
Amazon is the premier e-commerce site. Not only have they built a business on low prices, a frictionless one-click transaction process, and fast shipping, they have also provided data and analytics – in the form of product ratings, reviews, and suggestions – to ensure customers are choosing the right products at the point of transaction. They have created a superior customer experience, making it unnecessary for most people to visit a brick and mortar store to speak to a salesperson and putting a slew of retailers out of business along the way. In 2014, the company saw a 23% increase in sales, compared to an average 16% e-commerce growth in the U.S. and Canada.
KAYAK: Smooth Transactions Analytic Application
Kayak enables users to search for flights and compare prices across multiple airlines and travel sites. We’re calling this an analytic application since users are essentially combing through flight data to find what they need. Once the desired itinerary is identified, users are seamlessly directed to the airline booking site without having to re-enter in flight information. Since Kayak collects a lead conversion fee from the booking site for every click-through, they have built an entire business model on integrating transactional capabilities at the point of analysis. The company had a $1.27 billion valuation when they IPOed in 2012, and were acquired for $1.8 billion by Priceline the following year.
FITBIT: Data Capture Data Analysis
Fitbit is the leader in fitness wearables, devices that monitor a user’s activity and transmit data to the cloud. Users can then analyze their activity through the online application that helps them understand how they are performing and discover ways to adjust future activity. As a business, Fitbit not only sells devices, but also generates revenue through a premier membership program that offers valuable data analysis-based services such as benchmarking and personalized fitness plans. The company had a $6.5 billion valuation when they IPOed earlier this year and currently own 70% of the fitness wearable market.
As a result of this evolution in consumer applications, users now expect more from the business applications they use every day, which puts pressure on application providers to satisfy their needs.
Companies looking to deliver analytic capabilities should not just rely on general business intelligence tools, which often require users to create their own reports. Instead, tools should help users work smarter. To do so, they need to be designed for and embedded into the business activity at hand.