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5 Ways Embedded Analytics Can Revolutionize Your Business Strategy

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Practically everything is creating data today.

If it’s connected to the Internet, or can be, then there is a good chance that information is being gathered to help the manufacturer or developer, as well as the end user. Consumers have grown accustomed to using apps and devices that collect information, from the number of steps they take and the calories they consume, to the amount of texts their kids send and how often their teenager drives over the speed limit.

We have all become consumers of data, and dashboards within the mobile or web-based applications we use now present a day’s worth of activities or a month’s worth of expenditures in a visually captivating way, making data easy to read and use.

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There is now an expectation that as easy as it is to use the data to manage and improve our fitness activity and personal budget, it should be equally so with the tools we use every day in the workplace. We want to interact with data in customizable dashboards in visual, accessible chunks, and we want to access it through the business applications we use every day. Enter embedded analytics.

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Gartner defines embedded analytics as the “use of reporting and analytic capabilities in transactional business applications.”

Gartner describes that while the capabilities may reside outside the application, taking advantage of existing enterprise analytic infrastructures for example, the experience with data and analytics must be seamless so that users don’t have to leave their application environment.

One writer described the goal of embedded analytics as providing “a complete analytics experience from inside an application’s workflow. This puts much needed insights at the user’s fingertips instead of requiring that user to switch to a standalone analytics tool.”

Unlock the value of data

Whether you are a wholesaler/distributor, a retailer, or a manufacturer, you are creating mountains of data every day, often across a variety of formats, and from disparate sources that can make it difficult to aggregate and analyze the information to better your businesses.

You recognize that there is tremendous value in business data and that when armed with accurate and timely data, your employees will make better decisions. You understand that speed is critical today and the ability to access information and gather actionable intelligence in context provides a number of benefits.

More companies are integrating or embedding analytics capabilities in the applications that are commonly used across their business. Your employees want the ability to quickly gather insights from data within the software they use. As you work to unlock the value of business data, embedded analytics offers a number of benefits.

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Here are five key benefits of embedded analytics:

  • Trusted environment, better user experience – When it comes to data and analytics, most users have come to rely on dedicated tools for specific business processes such as CRM or HR, or on applications that only do analytics. With embedded analytics, the reporting and analysis occurs within the familiar and trusted environment of core business applications. Data and analytics can be intimidating for everyday users, but embedding the tools within applications that users already understand will create confidence in your users’ ability to make data-driven decisions. Embedded analytics creates a seamless experience between the creation and analysis of business data.
  • Value and time – Embedded analytics adds value to current business applications and increases the amount of time that your users will spend in the software. You have invested significant time and money creating the right blend of core software and support services to help your team be efficient and productive. Selecting the right applications with embedded analytics ensures you get the most value from your investment while promoting a more data-driven culture.
  • Makes BI more pervasive – For many organizations, BI is a platform or process that is managed by the IT department or used by management to establish business strategy. It’s perceived as a higher-level function that trickles down the company hierarchy through reports and action items. Embedded analytics breaks down barriers to data, making BI more universal and placing reporting and analysis of business data into the hands of everybody who uses the company’s core applications. Rather than waiting for the IT department to follow through with a report request, more users are involved in the analytics process. There is now an expectation that because your team across all departments will have better access to data and analytics capabilities, they will make better business decisions.
  • Data-driven culture – Organizations want their employees to use data to make better decisions. With embedded analytics, you are making data a critical component of the applications and processes their teams are engaged with every day. Embedded analytics expands business intelligence to wider range of business applications and departments and promotes your commitment to data and analytics and a more data-driven culture.
  • Better business decisions – Embedded analytics combines business processes with analytics to empower users with the information they need to react to the ever-changing business climate. As your employees actively use your core business applications with the integrated analytics capabilities, they will react quicker to threats and opportunities while feeling empowered to make more informed business decisions. Embedded analytics gives your employees the ability to quickly build charts and reports so they can analyze business performance at any time. Decisions can be made on accurate and timely information that is in context.

Complement your BI strategy

Embedded analytics empowers your team with the information it needs to respond quickly and intelligently to changes in your business environment, and make the necessary improvements to optimize your business processes, from sales and marketing, to finance and supply chain.

Within the core applications they use everyday, your employees can access data in context to identify trends and review performance metrics in an on-going, real-time basis. Embedded analytics literally embeds intelligence into business processes allowing your team to use data to trigger decisions or to justify changes to current business processes.

This will supplement your traditional ERP and BI platforms for users who have not had direct access to data and analytics. As your employees embrace embedded analytics, BI functionality will become easier to use and more pervasive across your entire organization, complementing your overall BI strategy.

Mission critical BI at your fingertips

An increasing number of wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and manufacturers consider business intelligence as mission critical to managing their operations and monitoring their performance. Embedded analytics brings BI to the application level, providing in-context insights through a comprehensive and integrated workflow from within your business’ core software solutions.

Your users will value the convenience of integrated BI functions at their fingertips within an environment they are already comfortable using. Embedded BI bridges the gap between operations and analytics, providing your team with actionable intelligence to move your business forward.

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About the Author

Paul Robertson

Paul Robertson is head of digital marketing at Phocas Software. Phocas business intelligence software helps wholesale distributors, manufacturers, and retailers discover opportunities to increase sales, reduce costs and gain better visibility into their business. Paul holds a degree in communications and marketing and is completing a Master of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne.

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