Using analytics embedded in software applications can drive your business forward

Analytics in your tools can help users gain insights that can help take your customers and organization to the next level.

Image: Mykyta Dolmatov, Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than two years ago, Edsby, which provides a learning management system for educational institutions, began integrating analytics into its software that allowed teachers and administrators to spot trends in student learning, assess test scores among student populations, and more, all in the spirit of improving educational outcomes.

Edsby’s example is not an isolated event. Increasingly, commercial and in-house software developers are being asked to deliver more value with their applications. In other words, don’t just write applications that process transactions; Tell us about the trends and insights that transactions reveal by integrating analytics as part of the app.

“Software teams are responsible for building applications with built-in analytics that help their end users make better decisions,” said Steve Schneider, CEO of Logi Analytics, which provides embedded analytics tools to software developers. . It’s the idea of ​​delivering high-level analytics in the context of an app that people use every day. »

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Schneider said what users want are transactional apps with built-in analytics capabilities that can deliver insights to a variety of users with different interests and skills. “These are very sophisticated analytics that need to be accessible directly from the app,” he said.

With the help of pick and click tools, developers of transactional applications don’t have the time to learn how to integrate analytics from scratch into their applications. Instead, they can choose to embed an analytics dashboard into their app, or they can quickly orchestrate an API call to another app without needing to custom-build all the code.

“You can just click on the Embed command, and the tool will give you a Java script,” Schneider said. “In some cases, you need to do a little configuration for security, but it’s much easier to get analytics-rich apps faster in your user market.”

Get apps to market faster

Here’s how an integrated analytics tool can speed apps to market.

A marketing manager is responsible for buying advertisements and organizing campaigns. He or she collects information and transmits it to the IT department, which periodically publishes reports showing the results of placements and advertising campaigns.

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Now, with an app that has built-in analytics, the marketer can directly drill into the reporting information built into the app without having to contact IT. This can be done through a real-time self-service interface.

“In one case, a manufacturer was trying to improve operational performance through the use of an application and a set of stated metrics,” Schneider said. “Everyone had to log into the app to log their metrics, but the overall goal of improving performance remained elusive. The manufacturer decided to augment the original app with an analytics dashboard that displays key metrics and performance for each team. This gave everyone visibility. It quickly turned into a friendly competition between different groups of employees to see who could get the highest scores, and the overall performance of the company’s measures has improved.

For most developers, integrating analytics into apps is still in its infancy, but in-app analytics is an area that is on the verge of growth and which, at some point, will be able to incorporate structured and unstructured data into in-app visualizations.

Best Practices for Embedded Analytics

Enterprises and commercial enterprises interested in using embedded analytics in transactional applications should consider these two best practices:

  1. Think about your app users and the problems they are trying to solve

It starts by asking users what information they need to be successful. “App developers can also benefit if they think more like product managers,” Schneider said. In other words, what can I do with the analytics built into my app to really delight my customer, even if it’s the next-to-accounting user I see every day?

2. Start simple

If you’ve never used embedded analytics in apps before, choose a relatively easy-to-achieve goal for your first app and work with a cooperative user. By creating a series of successful and highly usable apps from the start, you inspire confidence in this new style of app. At the same time, you can define and standardize your methodology for developing embedded IT applications.

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