How Gather Learning built a scalable customer-facing analytics infrastructure
Delivering real-time data to customers has become a critical part of how B2B companies and SaaS platforms provide value to their customers. Often, their end-users rely on access to data and insights to make business decisions, improve operations, make recommendations, and more. The need for customer-facing analytics has evolved from a nice-to-have to a significant competitive advantage.
Until recently, most companies have been unable to build the supporting systems, culture, and functionality needed to deliver the gains SaaS and B2B companies can enjoy from embedded analytics. Embedded analytics platforms, however, bridge that gap by providing a flexible infrastructure to collect the data and the developer-friendly tools, experiences, and documentation to securely share that data with customers (and their end-users). As a result, organizations achieve an improved experience for their customers and potential new service and revenue opportunities, for a fraction of the cost and time to build an embedded analytics platform themselves.
How Gather Learning Solved the Data Sharing Challenge
Companies that are leading innovation in their respective spaces are doing so by building on platforms that they can easily integrate with their existing data infrastructure, and allow for embedding analytics directly into their apps - providing their end-users with real-time data to drive engagement and retention.
Gather Learning, is an example of an innovative company that’s turned embedded analytics from a roadmap initiative into a strategic differentiator for their business. Gather Learning is a platform that museums and cultural institutions use to increase engagement with their programs, and create a line of sight for business users across their members’ usage.
Before they deployed their embedded analytics strategy, the company faced many common challenges:
- The company collects massive amounts of data for a number of programs and events
- They had invested in an extensive data infrastructure consisting of their application DB (Postgres on Heroku), PostHog DB, and Snowflake.
- Their admin users had to conduct their own analysis and sort through the data to dig up insights to improve program effectiveness.
Innovators will always look to overcome challenges and look for new ways to drive revenue, save costs, or create better user experiences. And, that’s exactly why, Scott Lowe, Head of Engineering at Gather challenged himself and his engineering team to change previously held beliefs on what is or is not possible with customer-facing analytics.
Scott realized building a scalable customer-facing analytics infrastructure in-house would be a challenge without the right tooling. Explo’s platform shined here, providing the developer tools, flexibility, and integrations needed to unlock streamlined data sharing with their clients.
With Explo as the foundation for all customer-facing analytics (dashboards, reporting, etc.), Scott’s team saved countless dev hours by utilizing Explo's low-code interface to create embedded dashboards, and share data with their admin users within a matter of days as opposed to months. Furthermore, iterating on dashboards based on customer feedback and requests became streamlined, as updates and changes can be deployed in minutes. Member engagement data is seamlessly collected from Gather's application and databases and routed to embedded dashboards that can be customized based on requests and responses from customers.
Scott describes the flexibility of Explo's integration and dashboard design system;
“We were able to plug Snowflake into Explo which embed back into our UI. We write SQL queries directly into Explo, and use their drag & drop UI to set up dashboards that we embed.”
“I’d definitely recommend this toolchain for anyone looking to speed up the velocity on their dashboard iterations - especially if there is a PM or analyst on your team who knows SQL.”
Final Insights - let’s recap
Customer-facing analytics platforms simplify data sharing by abstracting the challenges of integration, visualization, and managing data access.
- A viable, valuable, and feasible customer-facing analytics solution requires an external investment. However, these platforms offer a “cheat code” to best-in-class capabilities that simplify and accelerate deployment time and business value.
- Embedded analytics can unlock new opportunities for customer experience and revenue growth.
- Hosted and compliant platforms can help address data sharing risks by simplifying data access best practices.
About Gather Learning
Gather allows leading universities, museums, scientific, and cultural institutions to bring their experiences together in coherent and meaningful ways for their members and for the public. With Gather, organizations can easily connect their people, programs, and insights to drive impact for all of the communities they serve.