Embedded Analytics & BI 101

Devon Tackels

Content Marketing Manager, Sigma

Nearly every organization seeking to be data-driven is talking about embedded analytics and BI right now. If they aren’t already using embedded analytics, they’re exploring their options and making plans for implementation.

Big benefits are propelling this interest. The ability to share dashboards and visualizations within teams means that users can more easily collaborate and build upon one another’s work. Simple sharing also leads to more effective decision-making since everyone in the organization can quickly access the insights they need when they need them. Teams become more productive, and higher adoption rates translate into a strong ROI. Additionally, the ability to share dashboards and visualizations securely with vendors, partners, and customers gives organizations a tool for increasing their value.

But embedded analytics and BI is a buzzword, and like other buzzwords, the meaning can be unclear. What exactly is embedded analytics, why is it so popular among users, and what are the key characteristics that define embedded analytics? In this post, we explore the answers to these questions.

What is embedded analytics?

Embedded analytics focuses on sharing dashboards and visualizations, securely, to a much wider swath of people than traditional BI. While different embedded analytics tools provide different levels of functionality, all of them facilitate sharing to some degree and provide the ability for users to access dashboards and visualizations within other systems and applications.

With the latest tools, you can further extend the analytics capabilities to partners and customers for a truly community-driven approach. By nature, embedded analytics platforms streamline cumbersome workflows and increase the speed and ease of data discovery.


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Why embedded analytics is gaining traction

The benefits to businesses are clear, as embedded analytics makes a collaborative, data-driven approach to decision-making possible. But what’s causing the popularity of embedded analytics platforms amongst users?

Consumer apps have made all-in-one and integrations ubiquitous. People have become used to being able to do what they need to do in one place, from a single platform. As with many consumer trends that have influenced the business world, this trend in consumer apps has created expectations by business users.

Business users are focused on productivity. With all of the demands being placed on workers today, they need to be able to move fast. They need to make decisions quickly, and they need confidence that they’re making those decisions based on data. Their expectation for convenience isn’t based merely on their experiences in the consumer world. Today’s professionals are looking for tools that will make them more competitive in their careers.

This drive presents an opportunity for organizations. Companies that implement embedded analytics see high adoption rates because the data is always available and people are motivated to use the tools. In fact, 93% of application teams say that embedded analytics improves the user experience.

Key characteristics of embedded analytics

Embedded analytics differs from traditional BI in significant ways. Five key characteristics set embedded analytics platforms apart.

 Embedding capability

Embedding capabilities in different platforms range from “bolt-on” to full integration. With the most basic functionality, users can access the platform within a process application via a single sign-on but are then taken outside the application to engage with the analytics platform. With full integration, users can engage in all the features of the analytics platform within the process application itself (never needing to go outside the process application). But all facilitate accessing analytics in other portals and applications.


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 Customizable dashboards

In traditional BI tools, dashboards are typically built by the BI team — non-technical users are dependent upon those with SQL and other skills to serve up insights. With embedded analytics, users can access visualizations — and even create custom dashboards —or leverage pre-built themes and layouts to build dashboards that answer common business questions. Often, users can embed images, videos, and URLs into dashboards as well.

 Interactive reports and visualizations

In many embedded analytics tools, interactive reports and visualizations are able to be embedded into applications directly, allowing users to adjust parameters and filters to see how changes in one data point affect results. Of course, static reports are always embeddable.

 Self-service analytics and ad hoc querying

The real value of embedded analytics lies in the ability of users to dive into the data ‘behind the dashboard’ for themselves. A visualized trend usually raises follow-up questions. The more power you give to users (with security in place, of course), the more they’ll be able to contribute and use data to inform decisions of all types. Some level of self-service is a must. Flexible ad hoc querying capabilities like Sigma offers are ideal.

 Mobile reporting

Sales teams, product specialists, and decision-makers of all sorts are often operating on the go. They need to be able to access full functionality from their mobile devices. With traditional BI, this is rarely possible.

Embedded analytics and BI platforms offer organizations an invitation to make use of the knowledge, skills, and perspectives of everyone within their company. At the same time, they give organizations the ability to increase their value to partners and customers. We’re now seeing the beginning of a migration to tools that facilitate collaboration, bringing data to a wider audience for more productive team members and more strategic decision-making.

Have more questions about embedded analytics? Read our free Definitive Guide to Embedded Analytics, Dashboards, and Reports. 

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