Software vendors that want to grow to need more revenue, and profitable revenue at that. With many enterprises already driven by software applications, app vendors can look for more income by providing extensions of their software to add value that customers appreciate. Embedded analytics and embedded business intelligence (embedded BI) can be great ways of enhancing application functionality and value, easily, effectively, and quickly.
Bringing applications and analytics together
The opportunities for bringing in analytics are wide-ranging. They apply to horizontal software applications, like customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning. They also work for applications for verticals, like retailer stock control, real estate rental, and even monitoring and controlling entire production lines and power grids. This is because besides getting their business done with these apps, customers also want to know more. They want to know how efficiently they are working, where they could be leveraging resources for greater effect, or what they should be preparing for down the line.
Analytics add value by enabling customers to answer these questions and optimize their use of their software. Analytics can pinpoint trends, predict demand and sales, and reveal correlations of interest between different factors. The next question is, how should the apps and the analytics come together? Many businesses get stuck at this point, because they see only the hassle of buying a separate system for the analytics. Yet there is a much simpler solution for both customers and app vendors – Embed the analytics directly in the software application.
Added value from embedded BI and analytics
Correctly embedded analytics and BI make it a snap for busy end users to get actionable insights from their apps and the data that those apps use. As the users use the system, all they need to do to get immediate business intelligence via the embedded BI is to mouse over to a menu item on the same screen. There, they click and access the BI and analytics of their choice. The customer’s IT department is happy too. Analytics and BI already embedded in a vendor’s product means the IT department is spared the time, effort, and risk of integrating a whole new IT system. For app vendors, as we’ll see below, there are then essentially three ways to multiply revenue streams.
Sell more of existing solutions to your existing customers
Many software sales models are shifting from one-time licenses to monthly subscriptions. In the cloud, for example, customers can sign up rapidly to start using a SaaS solution. The problem is that they can just as rapidly cancel and go elsewhere. The challenge is to keep customer satisfaction high enough for them to be happy to keep paying the monthly fees.
Adding embedded analytics can help. It can give your customers new perspectives on the data collected by the app. Embedded BI can let users easily clean up, analyze, visualize, and act on that data. The increased customer satisfaction then boosts customer lifetime value (CLV), a crucial metric for you as an app vendor, as well as reducing churn. That means less need for the expense of marketing and advertising to attract new customers to replace the ones who left. And as the saying goes, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.
Sell new products and services to existing customers
You can also offer embedded analytics as a paying option. The added value perceived by your customers can amply justify a new line item on the monthly bill. Just think of the different advantages you bring them. They make more money by doing better business by improving their understanding of their own customers’ needs, preferences, and patterns in buying and consuming. They save money by avoiding the purchase of a totally new BI or analytics system or service.
They save time by not having to constantly leave one application and fire up a second one, carting their data along with them as they go. In addition, a second app for the analytics could have a completely different interface, meaning extra training time and costs. On the other hand, the better you make the user experience for your embedded BI and analytics, the happier, more efficient, and more productive your customers will be. Frankly, when you look at it this way, you don’t just deserve extra income for what you offer your customers, you should get a medal!
Sell products and services to new customers
‘Data is power’, say some. ‘Data is the new oil’, say others. Whatever your perspective, data and good use of that data is increasingly differentiating industry leaders from the also-rans. That means that tools like data analytics are becoming standard items in the functionality shopping list used by enterprises when they look for new software solutions.
Embedding analytics and BI in your software application means prospective customers can already tick that box. Better still, if you offer the right self-service possibilities, customers can broaden their use of the embedded analytics to ask all sorts of questions about their data without needing technical support. Your software application will appeal to a wider cross-section of enterprises and organizations, because its embedded BI and analytics will have the flexibility to meet any ad hoc questions and challenges that customers throw at it.
Routes to embedding
The only question left is how to do the embedding. There are two ways to go. One is in-house development. This requires extra resources and longer lead times/time to market, while increasing risk. The second is to use components from a vendor specialized in analytics and business intelligence. Look for technology for embedding that offers ease of use, the simplicity of integration, high performance and reliability, and solid support. Using components ready to embed today can accelerate all the additional revenue streams above.
Whichever way you choose to deploy embedded BI and embedded analytics in your app, now is the time to do it. Extra revenue and profit are there to be won, customer loyalty can increase significantly, and new business may be just around the corner.