Here at Sisense, we love seeing customers flourish when they’ve embedded analytics to share product usage and other insights with their partners or customers. Naturally, we think you should show and share relevant insights from your product data as soon as you can.

We also know that the decision to embed analytics is significant for many companies. Often, before companies take this step, they wait until their products have gone to market, and their systems, databases, and data pipelines are already established. But what’s the right time to embed analytics? We claim that the earlier, the better – but let’s consider when and why.

Any time is a good time

You probably won’t be surprised to hear us say “start early”. But if your company hasn’t added an analytics module/component to its products or services from the get-go, no problem. The technology’s out there to implement a fantastic seamless add-on analytics platform that will impact positively on your business and your users. Nevertheless, there’s a bunch of good reasons not to delay.

Why it’s smart to get an early start

Data is increasingly critical for making business decisions, for identifying trends, and for anticipating behavior that can lead to further growth. So, don’t wait to play catch-up.

In most cases when companies look to visualize their data there’s a need to embed an analytics platform because they face problems that can’t be solved by their legacy systems and existing ways of working. So, logically, the earlier you embed an analytics platform, the less likely you’ll encounter these issues, and the more likely you’ll be able to optimize insights from your data and that of your customers.

Often, companies seek to embed an analytics platform when they find themselves scrambling for a solution to save time, money and resources, and identify opportunities. Hesitating to implement a suitable solution means they risk impairing their performance just because they are not showing data to their customers. They offer their customers a product with no data, and they hurt their capability for developing new business prospects.

With the insights derived from data, you will see ways to differentiate, find opportunities to attract new clients, identify ways to upsell to existing clients, increase their satisfaction, and boost revenue. It’s all good for business.

Plus, by getting the technology in place early you can reduce or even avoid the costs of gathering data from a disjointed variety of systems that you might have used if you hadn’t already taken the plunge to add analytics.

So, when’s good?

Mindful of these reasons to embed analytics sooner rather than later, when’s a good time to do it? Well, there are three early stages in which you could choose to embed analytics to stay ahead of the pack.

  • The development stage: when your product is still under construction
  • The Beta testing stage: when you’ve created your completed product in a limited, trial run, and you’re testing it amongst a select group of users
  • The early customer-base stage: when you’ve gently launched and you have a small number of early adopters, but your product isn’t yet ready to handle large amounts of data or display it to your customers

Embedding while developing

You could choose to offer analytics right from the start of your company’s journey, even in the development stage. Give your earliest customers detailed reporting. You’ll track every piece of customer data from the get-go, and provide it to them up front, either as part of a higher-priced base offer or as an add-on. You’ll have great reporting capabilities immediately, there’ll be no need to fix solutions later or patch together reports. Your customers will get used to looking at their data and analyzing it themselves from a very early stage. They’ll be as self-sufficient as possible. Plus, by embedding analytics from the start, there’ll be no need for a lengthy adoption process of bringing together data from disparate sources, and you’ll be tracing every piece of customer data from the get-go.

For instance, we worked with a company that was developing a SaaS workflow solution, set up to help its customers streamline product development and supply chain so that they could get new products to market faster.

Bringing new products to market involves many people: procurement, suppliers, product testing, focus groups, marketing, manufacturing, legal, transportation and logistics, to name a few. That means there’s a lot of data going back and forth that must be managed and interpreted to ensure a successful launch. Implementing graphical reporting tools at the earliest stage enabled the company to make full sense of data immediately. What was needed was high-quality reporting embedded into the product – something versatile, affordable, simple to configure, easy for customers to use and control their access levels and costs.

Once implemented, fully interactive and flexible dashboards could be set up so that clients could filter their own data, modify filters in real time and make any changes they needed, without requiring technical expertise. Data was refreshed daily and easy-to-understand visual reports meant that clients could get the most up-to-date project reports quickly and easily to help them identify issues and optimize performance through all parts of the product development process.

Embedding while Beta testing

Alternatively, you can embed analytics at the beta testing stage. It’s a great point at which to learn about your customers and their relationship with your product so you can calibrate the functionality of your analytics. At this stage, you can find out how much your future customers value access to their data, and then you can price your product accordingly. You can also get a real sense of h, w these customers would use the analytics you provide, and you can streamline dashboards, filters etc. so that they get the most value as they can from the BI and analytics available to them.

You’ll also gain really useful information from your beta users that will help you calibrate and market the functionality of your analytics so that you can confidently give customers what they need when you launch in earnest.

Embedding with early-customers

If you’re being more cautious, you can wait until you’ve built an early customer-base that now wants to know more, as they ask for reports and insights from their data. As you’ll have already established a customer base that’s generating data, it may well be coming from disparate sources by this stage, so it could take longer to adopt and implement an embedded solution that brings together and integrates this data. Nevertheless, this is still a relatively early stage, so it remains a great time to seek ways of embedding analytics to enhance your product offer.

For example, we worked with a recruiting software company that had already built a considerable data pool and was experiencing bottlenecks in analyzing the data. So, neither the company nor its customers could react quickly enough to requested changes.

Embedding our platform as a white-label solution provided the company with a seamless interface and a single, branded unified environment for its customers that was quick and easy to implement and use.

Customers could explore data independently, with vastly expedited reporting capabilities, leading to a 28-fold increase in productivity. The result: problem solved, bottleneck removed, and happy customers, driven by embedded analytics.

Anticipating and embracing change

Another compelling reason for embedding early is that you can use insights from the data you explore with analytics, to anticipate change and get ahead of the pack.

With the capability to rapidly crunch and visualize data, you can examine all aspects of your business and users’ behavior so you and your customers can know as much as possible before being hit by changes, both those that are foreseeable and unforeseeable.

So, if something big arises that might affect business, you’ll already have an indication of where you and your customers need to focus efforts to mitigate the effects, or even benefit from them.

In an increasingly uncertain world, knowledge is precious, and its raw material — data — is hugely valuable. Make sure you’ve got the analytics to give your business and your customers a competitive edge.