Analysis / Contributed / Op-Ed

Embed Analytics into Your Applications the Right Way

13 Feb 2017 6:00am, by

Darren Loureiro
Darren Loureiro is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Jinfonet Software. Jinfonet offers the JReport product suite, a Java reporting solution that delivers highly customizable business intelligence.

Embedding analytics into your commercial software applications can bring tremendous value. It provides business users access to analytics within the context of their applications. But the practice brings challenges: Product owners need to pay special attention to not only the UI customization but also the architectural integration. A well-architected integration ensures a secure, high-performance environment that offers a seamless experience to users such that the analytics capabilities are always available from within your application.

Given these critical requirements, there is a multitude of modern features that product owners should pay special attention to. Here are some of the most crucial ones to consider when embedding analytics into another product or application:

Easy Set-up with Zero Client-Side Coding

Setting up your data analytics business processes should be simple. Your customers should not have to install any client-side applications, plug-ins, or purchase new devices to get started. Equally important, product owners should not worry about potential upgrades or migrations when hardware or OS configurations changes occur.

Given this, standard support should include a single sign-on and RESTful architecture, a variety of APIs, and front-end technologies, such as JavaScript. This ensures a range of support for security, web applications, and data connectivity.

Usability without Training

Ultimately, your customers are going to be engaged with the analytics side of your product, and providing self-service user interfaces and guided report creation is paramount to maximizing convenience.

Embedded analytics achieves greater usability by providing in-context insights since the analytics is provided from within your application. In addition, the solution itself can leverage a host of usability concepts to aid in the mission of getting from data to insight.

For example, chart creation should feature such quick actions as one-click chart conversions allowing users to rapid prototype their way to the best visualization. Additionally, responsive design supports the visualizations across a variety of device form factors.

Given this provision along with a seamlessly integrated analytics environment, your customers should have no prerequisite training to use your analytics functionality. Product owners should be wary of vendors that require lengthy on-site or web-based training classes to use their product. If users are already trained with the core application, they should not require comprehensive training to use the analytics facing side.

A Customizable, Unique Experience

As mentioned above, product owners often need to provide analytics in specific contexts. Considerations for this include white-labeling, language localization, or how the analytics solution appears in the application. A solution that provides a static analytics interface, English-only solution, or shallow options in the way of customization and integration features will limit your application down the road when requirements may change.

To that end, product owners should seek an analytics solution that allows them to take a fine-grained approach to deciding what individual features to embed. Additionally, this approach should allow for control of the behavior of features as well as options to expose functionality and control options in certain areas of your application.

Final Thoughts

Product owners know that integrating analytics is mission-critical to adding value to their product offerings in order to support revenue growth. At the end of the day, integration is critical to providing in-context insights through a unified analytical workflow from within your application.

Customers will truly appreciate working in an environment that is convenient, easy-to-use, and provides advanced functionality. Additionally, a well-integrated application eases the burden of work on your development team as everything is much more in sync and streamlined for your customers. Specifically, R&D is supported by the analytics provider, which will continuously improve your analytical offerings without distracting your development team from work on the core application.

Feature image: Jinfonet’s newly released JReport 14.


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