Everyone on the R&D team, ranging from directors and VPs of development to the system engineers and DevOps, share a common motivation; creating and developing outstanding products and solutions. All of these professionals are also well aware that customers want access to the data most products today have.
In today’s marketplace, customers want and expect to see the information that is collected about product use, various status updates, sessions of engagement with the product, and much more. Access to this data not only helps reveal insights but also makes your product stickier.
Sure, you can build your own analytics solution. But, by the time it’s ready to launch your competitors will be way ahead of you. Plus, in the build it yourself scenario you’ll eventually deliver a nice dashboard with data in it but then comes the never-ending story of maintaining the dashboards and continuously developing features to improve them. When thinking of going the build it yourself route, ask yourself: “Am I a BI expert? Do I want to be?”
Data from all directions
No matter what your product or service is, its likely collecting data from many sources. Lots of it. We find ourselves in the midst of an IoT (Internet of Things) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) revolution where every connected device and sensor collects data. Seeing and analyzing all of this data is critical to customers.
Sitting down with your team to discover what needs to be done to create an analytics overlay for your product will result in many questions. “How quickly can we get it done?” “Can the solution scale when the number of users grows?” “How do we keep up with all the developments in analytics features and keep evolving our product?” “Who is going to get pulled off the product to develop these features?”
Functionalities to consider when embedding analytics
When looking for new software solutions, Gartner says to “Start by looking for specific analytic applications that complement your ERP and BI platform investments. In the long term, review vendor capability to support reusable analytics artifacts (i.e., services) in a service-oriented architecture environment.” Here a few more items you should keep in mind:
- Data access: How simple will the platform be to integrate your data across types and sources?
- Modeling: How manageable will it be to code for the preparation of data to be consumed by your users?
- Visualization: Will the platform you choose provide the widgets you want? If not, does it provide the customization options for you to create them?
- Process integration: Integration can take months, but it doesn’t have to. Find a vendor who can integrate with your product in days or weeks so you can stay focused and see benefits right away.
- Security: Judging a vendor’s security credentials is one of the most important considerations to check off your list. Some things to look for? The ability to manage users, Active Directory, SSO, and system settings to make sure users have access only to the data they need.
The seven functionalities above are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choosing an analytics solution to embed in your product or application. The most important thing to remember is that you should choose a vendor that will grow with you and thinks of you as a partner and not just another customer. When you work with a vendor that offers your easy, instant, and seamless integration you’ll be able to focus on what your customers need and they’ll love you for it.