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Will Embedding Analytics Increase Adoption?

A recent survey report states that access to self-service is rising, but adoption is falling. However, their findings imply that overall use is relatively steady.

A recent report from Logi Analytics, "2017 State of Analytics Adoption Report," reveals that access to self-service is rising, but adoption is falling. However, the findings imply that overall use is relatively steady.

The 725 individuals who responded to the survey included both members of IT teams and non-IT end users; 64 percent were from North America and 28 percent from the U.K. The individuals represented many industries, including technology, education, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.

Which Type of Analytics Is Implemented?

When asked what type of analytics is currently in place, many of these enterprises still chose traditional BI -- 40 percent of respondents say it is "fully implemented." Another 26 percent of respondents have "started to implement" traditional BI.

Only 32 percent and 36 percent of respondents have fully implemented embedded analytics and self-service analytics respectively. When you add those that have started to implement these technologies (34 percent and 32 percent), the combined percentages (66 percent and 68 percent) are within 2 percentage points of the combined rate for traditional BI.

Access Versus Adoption

According to the report, "adoption of [self-service] tools is way down -- 20 percent lower than two years ago." That statistic is based on the number of users who have access to self-service tools and actually use them. The percent of users with access has risen (from 39 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2016), but the percent of those users who take advantage of the tools has fallen off (from 56 percent to 45 percent).

If you combine these statistics, you can confirm that "end users report that only 21 percent of their departments both have access to and use self-service analytics tools." However, by the same math, 22 percent of users were using these tools in both 2014 and 2015. Even though adoption hasn't grown with increased access, the raw number of users hasn't really changed.

Adoption Has Stalled

The question then becomes: Why? When self-service tools are made available, why aren't more users working with them? This report asked IT teams and business users about the challenges with analytics tools.

On the top of the complaint list, 19 percent of users find tools too difficult, 21 percent of IT staff find them too expensive, and both say switching to a standalone analytics tool is a problem (17 percent each). Logi's report claims that the solution to adoption problems is embedded analytics.

The Appeal of Embedded Analytics

Embedded analytics is philosophically similar to self-service analytics -- the idea is to bring data and analysis capabilities directly to business users rather than having all insights come through IT. The difference is that embedded analytics integrates analytics functions into tools or applications that users are already working with rather than having users switch to a dedicated analytics tool.

According to the survey, "Eighty-four percent of business users say it's either 'very important' or 'somewhat important' for them to be able to access analytics embedded within the applications they're already using (e.g., Salesforce)."

However, 84 percent makes it only the ninth most popular on a list of desired capabilities. More preferred priorities include ease of use, supporting collaboration, and the ability to import and export data.

As mentioned, as many organizations are using (either fully or starting to implement) embedded analytics as are using traditional BI. The appeal of embedded analytics does not seem to be lost on the survey sample.

The Most Important Factor?

To be very clear: Logi Analytics provides embedded analytics solutions. It has good reason to support the idea of embedded analytics as the solution to all your adoption problems. However, according to this very report, ease of use may be more important.

The top priority business users wanted in a BI tool was "ease of use and autonomy." More users reported "too difficult to use" as a challenge with their analytics solution than any other option.

If standalone tools were easy enough to use, more users might adopt them. If an embedded solution is still difficult to use, the sheer fact that it's embedded probably won't significantly increase adoption.

About the Author

Lindsay Stares is a production editor at TDWI. You can contact her here.

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