Globally, the worldwide big data and analytics market is growing, and is predicted to experience double-digit growth through 2020. More organisations have realised that in a highly competitive environment, trusted and real-time data insights are crucial to success. It’s not about how much data an organisation has but whether relevant data is being extended to broader audiences (both internal and external) and in more contexts, such as applications, partner portals, and public and customer websites.

This is driving the search for holistic and agile approaches to data integration and analytics, and is leading the journey towards embedded analytics. As companies require deeper insights into data, real-time integration of data from disparate sources, and greater access to analytics as part of a product offering, they are finding an increasing need to embed analytics straight into their websites and business applications.

For example, as part of a broader open data initiative, the Sydney Insurance Regulatory Authority has launched the Workers compensation system dashboard; an app powered by Qlik to present compensation data for New South Wales. The goal is to better understand the state of workplace injury, including compensation, to increase transparency and accountability through access to government data.

Regardless of whether you’re a government agent, or an ASX listed business, there are several considerations to be mindful of when starting an embedded analytics journey. Perhaps most importantly, leaders must remember that to be successful in embracing embedded analytics, they must allow for the movement of data, in real time, across multiple environments.

This is to ensure that data is being seen by the right people, with the right skills, at the right time.

Like many innovations, the path to embedded analytics is paved with good intentions. Business leaders who are serious about empowering their teams with data need to focus on three components for their embedded analytics platform: its ability to embed, extend and enhance their data.

  1. Embed everywhere.

    An analytics platform should be able to connect to and load data from diverse sources, supporting all relational database formats as well as big data systems and cloud applications. The platform should also be able to easily transform and model data as it’s retrieved from source systems and loaded into the analytics platform, making it possible to work with many different data sources flexibly.

  2. Analytics should be pervasive.

    User interfaces in business applications, portals, and websites should extend to feature analytic functionality, allowing a wider population of users to understand and use data strategically. What’s more, analytics platforms should support a robust set of modern, open APIs, allowing organisations to expand and customise their platform in the future without modifying base code.

  3. Enhance the user experience.

    Driving returns on any investment requires high usage among staff – they must see a tool’s value, know how it works, and want to use it. This requires the creation of an ideal user experience by customising not only the functions, but also the look and feel, and workflow integration of the analytics platform. Users should also be able to give feedback on which data sets they are using and whether receiving certain data at a particular junction would improve their decision-making.

Embedded analytics is an important tool for business leaders to understand and embrace. Ultimately, it empowers users to assess and act on current, relevant information via a powerful interface that makes strategic use of data. Done right, embedded analytics makes for better-informed employees and better-aligned partners and vendors. It also allows organisations to reach new markets, deliver new revenue streams, grow customer loyalty, improve competitive advantage, and drive use and adoption of products.