What Are Embedded Analytics?

What Are Embedded Analytics?


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Embedded analytics are products that manage analytics features in an application, oftentimes a SaaS application. To the end user, embedded analytics are virtually no different from analytics normally built in-house; in fact, many embedded analytics products, such as Explo, are white-labeled by default.

Embedded analytics dramatically reduce the learning curve for building a mature analytics feature. Most applications that use an embedded analytics solution are able to ship sub-features that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible via an in-house approach.

Why Do Companies Want Analytics for Their Platform?

Before discussing the benefits of analytics, it’s important to understand why analytics are growing popular in applications. Analytics typically are broken into two sub-features: dashboards and reports. While similar, dashboards are open-ended panels for users to explore data and answer many data-driven questions; conversely, reports are filtered-down, focused documents generated by a report-builder.

The benefit of analytics—both dashboards and reports—is that they make it easy to make decisions on how to better use a product. As more and more companies use data as a guiding force behind their decision-making, analytics become more of an expected table-stakes feature for any arbitrary SaaS applications.

Why Use Embedded Analytics over In-House Builds?

By default, engineering teams tend to veer on building features in-house. However, there are many headwinds when it comes to building an analytics solution, which is usually very different from other interfaces in the same application.

  1. A Charting Solution. Building a good charting solution in-house is very, very hard. Instead, when building in-house, engineering teams usually will extend a charting library like Vega or Chart.js. However, these libraries have their own learning curves and need to be form-fitted to the application’s framework.
  2. Data Logic. Analytics solutions usually need special data access since they retrieve a lot more data than usual. Specifically, routing analytics through the main backend is unwise because it burdens the core backend database connector with heavy requests. Instead, analytics solutions require their own backend connection to databases to facilitate requests; this adds additional infrastructure to maintain.
  3. Export Features. For a Report Builder, which is expected alongside any product with dashboards, teams need to build filtering, exporting, and sharing features, which each create a lot of edge cases.

As a result, Embedded Analytics are growing popular. Embedded Analytics directly connect to a company’s data sources, handling the backend. Additionally, they provide a no-code interface for designing, personalizing, and deploying the visual component. And, as is the case with Explo, sometimes offer a report builder out-of-the-box.

One of the unique benefits of using Embedded Analytics is that technically-savvy, non-engineering employees, often on the product team, can create account-specific dashboards by writing SQL but not having to concern themselves with infrastructure, pull requests, or anything engineering-specific. For companies that serve enterprise clients with bespoke needs, this is an enormous value add.

Why Outsource Certain Feature?

Believe it or not, outsourcing specific features in an application is an old practice that’s still practiced by most applications today. For instance, many teams implement authentication using Auth0 or Okta. Teams implement command bars using Commandbar. Teams that need an integrations portal might use a product like Paragon.

Outsourcing specific features speeds up time-to-market, democratizes who can work on the feature in the company, and can dramatically save engineering time. You can learn more about this build-versus-buy debate here.

Who Uses Embedded Analytics?

Many successful products use embedded analytics today. Some notable ones include:

  • Lunchbox, an online ordering leader that caters to enterprise, uses an Embedded Analytics solution to best cater to their customers.
  • Zuddl, a leader in online webinars, uses Embedded Analytics to share event data
  • Worksmith, a leader in brick-and-mortar experience management, uses Embedded Analytics to share store data

Consider Embedded Analytics for Your Company, Too

If you are interested in using Embedded Analytics, learn about Explo’s Explore and Architect products. If curious, book a demo to get a live overview and information on how Explo could work inside your application.

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