I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The 2021 Ventana Research Value Index: Embedded Analytics and Data is the distillation of a year of market and product research by Ventana Research. See our prior post for a description of our methodology and included vendors.
The processes and technology of the analytics and data software industry play an instrumental role in enabling an organization’s business units and IT to optimally utilize data in both tactical and strategic ways. To accomplish this, organizations must provide workers technology that can access the data, generate and apply insights from analytics, communicate the results and support collaboration as needed.
When analytics are embedded in business processes and applications, analyses are easier to perform and more accessible to line-of-business personnel. The analyses are easier to perform in part because the application collects and assembles data. Our research shows that data preparation can be the most time-consuming step in the analytical process. Embedded analytics can dramatically reduce or eliminate this step. The analyses are also easier to consume because there is no need to switch context between the business application and an analysis tool.
Perhaps more importantly, analytics embedded within applications can more easily lead to action. For instance, if an analysis suggests a change in pricing, the appropriate logic can be included in the application to make those changes. If an analysis suggests a marketing campaign for a specific customer segment, that segmentation can be performed and the campaign launched. For these reasons, we expect that very soon, more than one-half of line-of-business personnel will have immediate access to cross-functional analytics embedded in their activities and processes, helping make operational decision-making more efficient and effective.
This Value Index assessment focuses on the challenge of delivering analytics and business intelligence in the context of business processes and applications. These needs are substantial: More than half of organizations (53%) report that users of analytics tools cannot perform their own analyses without IT involvement. Our research on cloud-based analytics, predictive analytics, data preparation and big data analytics all show strong interest in embedded delivery of those capabilities.
Analytics vendors understand the need to deliver embedded analytics; most have been developing and enhancing application programming interfaces and other mechanisms to more tightly integrate analytics into business processes and applications. However, it can be challenging for analytics and business intelligence vendors to package and deliver capabilities in a way that makes them easy to embed into other applications and processes. Vendors are working to overcome these challenges because organizations recognize the importance of embedded analytics. Nearly three-quarters of participants in our Data and Analytics in the Cloud Benchmark Research said embedded analytics are important.
Vendors must provide tools for defining data models and accessing data from the applications as well as from other data sources. These tools will likely be used by a different audience than typical analytics tools. An application development team, for instance, would create the framework for line-of-business personnel to perform analyses. In addition, the tools must provide mechanisms to integrate both inputs to and outputs from the analytical processes with other applications. Embedded analytics also require programmatic access for management and administration functions to minimize installation and maintenance of the system for line-of-business personnel.
The 2021 Value Index for Embedded Analytics and Data finds IBM first on the list, with Qlik in second place and MicroStrategy in third. Companies that place in the top three in any category earn the designation Value Index Leader, including:
- Qlik in four of the seven categories
- IBM and MicroStrategy in three categories
- Board, Information Builders, Oracle, SAP and Yellowfin in two categories
- And Tableau in one category
The results from our research have placed vendors into one of four overall categories: Assurance, Exemplary, Merit or Innovative. The vendors that did well in both product and customer experience placed as Exemplary: Domo, IBM, Qlik, MicroStrategy and Tableau. Vendors that performed well in customer experience — such as SAP, SAS and Infor — and did not perform as well in product experience are providing Assurance. Vendors with good performance in product experience that did not perform as well in customer experience — such as Oracle, Yellowfin and Microsoft — are classified as Innovative. This representation of the Value Index helps organizations better align vendors with business needs.
As your organization evaluates analytics and data vendors, consider your requirements for embedded capabilities. Our Value Index assessment provides a valuable source of information to include in your evaluation process. We make it freely available to all. And if you need additional assistance, please fill out our contact form.