Essentials for Success in Embedded Business Intelligence

Devon Tackels

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Sigma

According to a survey by Dresner Advisory Services, embedded business intelligence tools have an average 59% adoption rate. That’s better than traditional BI tools’ 27% rate, but if 40+% of your people aren’t using the software, you aren’t going to see the kind of results that you’d hoped for.

To ensure your people are using your embedded BI and analytics solution —and applying the insights they uncover to their work— there are a few steps you need to take before choosing a tool.

Here’s a step-by-step process to make it easier.

 Understand the needs of each user type

You’ll want to start by identifying who will use the tool, what they’ll need to accomplish with it, and the current workflows it will need to support. Here are several questions that will help you with this process:

  • Which internal teams will be engaging with the software?
  • Do you want customers, vendors, and/or partners to be able to participate?
  • What are your users’ roles and responsibilities?
  • What problems are they aiming to solve?
  • What does each user type need to be able to accomplish with the tool?
  • What are their skills and experience with technology?
  • What do their workflows look like?
  • Which platforms and software will they need to embed analytics into?

While it’s easy to assume that you know what people need and want, it’s smart to do a few interviews with folks of each user type to be sure you have a solid understanding. This will help ensure you don’t overlook something that will impact adoption.

 Identify the functionality each user will need

Based on what you learn from user research, determine what functionality or features will allow you to meet their needs most effectively.

This is where you get into the nitty gritty. What types of data does each user need to be able to work with? What specifically will each user type need to be able to do with the data? (Modeling? Exploration? Creating visualizations and dashboards?) And importantly, how much flexibility do you need with permissions? Be sure each user type can easily accomplish what they need to, with security compliance in place.

You may also want to consider if users require the ability to embed text, images, and videos into dashboards — or whether data visualizations will be enough to make them successful.


Check out our guide to help you find the right embedded analytics tool for your team. Read it here.

 Consider where and how analytics will be embedded

Because capabilities vary so widely in embedded business intelligence software, you need to identify where users will be embedding analytics and how integrated you want them be.

It should be easy to integrate analytics into a user’s existing workflow. First, does the tool you’re considering have a way to easily and securely embed row-level data and visualizations on public and private websites? Is there a signed embedding function so that appropriate people can log in from the external platform interface? Will you be able to embed into the third-party applications that people use?

Second, you’ll need to consider the level of embed capability. Some tools offer only “bolt-on” capability, providing security but little else in the way of integration. Others provide full integration with data discovery and complete, real-time analytics functionality within the external platform interface. And many offer something in between.

 Ensure a good user experience

Because adoption is so highly tied to a tool’s UX, be sure that the tool you choose is easy for users who have a range of technical skills. Business users should be able to build dashboards without writing SQL, while the data team should have the option to dive into the code. Users should be able to choose from pre-built templates that speed the build process while also having the ability to customize dashboards with company colors or include relevant videos, images, and text.

You should also consider how easy the embed process is with the tool you’re considering. A simple process will conserve resources, speed up implementation, and increase adoption rate, allowing you to get to value delivery faster.

 Quantify the value of analytics for each user type

When you’re preparing to implement your embedded business intelligence tool, you can boost adoption by helping users understand “what’s in it for them.” Create a messaging strategy that quantifies the value of using the tool, defining how it will help them reach their goals, save them time, and improve their work performance.

You’ll also want to invest in analytics training and data literacy. Business users shouldn’t need to learn SQL, but they will need to understand the basics of working with data, best practices, how to find the data they need in your data warehouse, and how to get the most out of the tool. This training will help to prepare non-technical users to participate in the data conversation, discover meaningful insights, and drive business growth.


Build a data literacy program from the ground up using our free guide

Lay the groundwork for embedded business intelligence

When you do the work to prepare the launch of your embedded business intelligence program, you’ll dramatically boost adoption rates because people will be sold on using the tool and educated on how to engage in the analytics process. And they’ll be able to start contributing and generating insights much faster.

Learn more about what to look for in an embedded analytics platform and how to implement embedded analytics effectively — see our Definitive Guide to Embedded Analytics, Dashboards, and Reports.

Ready to get started with embedded business intelligence? Check out Sigma’s embedded BI solution

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