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The purpose of any enterprise software application is to help businesses be more productive. And given the ever-growing number of applications of every stripe across every industry, you want the applications that you develop and sell to maximize the productivity of your customers. That’s the way to attract, win, and retain an expanding clientele in a highly competitive (and ever-changing) market.
Which begs the question, what exactly does it mean to be productive? In the classic business-treatise-cum-novel The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, authors Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox give a straightforward yet profound definition of productivity:
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“Productivity is the act of bringing a company closer to its goal. Every action that brings a company closer to its goal is productive.”
Yes, your enterprise software applications provide an array of benefits to your customers to support and increase their productivity. But it’s probable that many of your competitors’ applications also help increase customers’ productivity. So how can you supercharge your offerings — and thus your customers’ productivity?
By embedding business intelligence (BI) into your applications. With embedded BI, your customers will be able to build metrics around their goals, view those metrics in real-time within your application itself, and pursue continuous improvement of those metrics. By embedding BI within your applications, you’ll help your customers focus on what’s truly productive to drive their businesses forward.
Consider these four ways that embedding BI into your applications will help your customers maximize their productivity.
1. Conduct Better Analysis
When you embed BI into your software application, you enable your customers to conduct analysis on-demand. With key performance indicators (KPIs) at their fingertips, your customers will be able to focus on the areas that require attention to reach their goals, which in turn makes them more productive.
With embedded BI, your customers aren’t restricted by complex processes only understood by data architects and analysts. Rather, BI is put into the hands of users across an organization. Any project manager or team lead can open their dashboard and review the KPIs in ways that are beneficial to their individual needs — without relying on others with specific, specialized training.
2. Take Quick Action
Giving customers the ability to run reports on-demand for analysis is an essential component of any BI solution. But table stakes for data has changed. On-demand reporting isn’t enough — your customers want and need real-time reporting. They need to see data literally as it unfolds. With embedded BI, your customers have dashboards that reflect real-time data. By keeping important data front and center at all times, embedded BI empowers decision-makers to quick action to respond to rapidly changing business environments — which, let’s face it, is something everyone is grappling with.
3. Understand the Story and Identify Patterns
The purpose of a dashboard is not to simply show numbers — it’s to tell a story. As dashboards present data visually, they allow for easier digestion of the information than table reports. Executives can quickly drill down into the information they need, see it represented in real-time and in a format that doesn’t require detective work.
When you use embedded BI to incorporate well-designed and meaningful visuals into a dashboard, your customers are able to understand the story of their data with a single glance. Visualization helps your customers recognize relationships between large amounts of complicated data. And as your customers identify patterns, they can discern ways to be more productive and achieve better outcomes. Your customers can derive greater meaning from their data faster. In this current competitive environment, making these insights easy to attain is key to your customers’ success.
4. Grasp the Latest Trends
Data visualization can reveal the latest trends in business and society, enabling your customers to take advantage of new opportunities and avoid potential pitfalls. The ability to stay on top of trends — whether positive or negative — is critical to acting strategically, safeguarding revenue streams, and reducing risk.
Since embedded BI lives within the deployment environment, it’s provider-neutral. This allows your customer to choose the technologies — cloud-based or on-premise — that best suit their use case. If a customer deploys your application on the cloud, the embedded BI is deployed with it. If the application is deployed on-premise, the embedded BI is on-premise, too. Rather than being dictated by the requirements of standalone BI software, your client has the flexibility to scale and adopt new technologies as they want.
With embedded BI, switching environments is also simplified. This vendor neutrality means that businesses can readily move from AWS to Google Cloud to Microsoft Azure as they desire, without affecting the embedded BI. It’s a huge benefit to your customers — they want the flexibility to move between cloud providers as their needs evolve and as technologies emerge.
Embedded BI in Action: Retail
In retail, the customer story is everything. For example, consider an application that helps customers decide what merchandise to buy and when to buy it. The embedded dashboard for that application could show:
- What product categories are in demand by month and by location
- The customer demographics for each product category
- Which sales, coupons, and offers are most effective
This information tells a clear customer story. With an intuitive, user-friendly, visually appealing dashboard, end-users can use this information to make data-based decisions. Sales managers can decide how to manage inventory or where to adjust staff scheduling. Senior management can look at how to personalize the customer experience and what kind of advertising to invest in. And no one has to have specialized analytical training.
A Double Success
By embedding BI into your enterprise software application, you can enable your customers to optimize their productivity by focusing on specific actions that will help them reach their business goals. Embedded BI gives your customers the benefit of in-depth analysis, real-time data, powerful insights, and an understanding of patterns and trends as they develop over time. This business intelligence will serve to increase the value of your application in your customers’ eyes, boosting your reputation and expanding your market.
As a software developer and vendor, your success is inextricably linked to your customers’ success. Embedded BI is a sure way to ensure the success of both.