How to leverage data and analytics to build better products for customers

Written by Paul Scholey, Vice President of International Sales, Sisense

Until now organisations have only considered the benefits of analytics for themselves. In fact, more than half (52%) of the 1,700 European business decision-makers surveyed by Dun & Bradstreet recently said they doubted they could even survive without having relevant, up-to-date business data. Actionable data is an absolute necessity.

The focus, however, has been on extracting insights from data to improve internal business processes and help teams make smarter decisions. This leaves out an entire, mission-critical part of business – the products that are built for customers. Today’s most innovative product leaders believe this is a missed opportunity and will take initiative to change that.

Here’s why: Just as analytics adoption increases within businesses when insights are infused from data at the point of decision; the same is also true for an organisation’s customers’ knowledge workers. This leads to customers finding greater success when they take action using the company’s products and services. As the greatest business leaders know, they are most successful when their customers are successful, and customers are most successful when they make decisions using insights from data.

Giving customers what they need

Currently, the vast majority of business products that deliver analytics to customers do so via methods that feel “bolted on” like emails, web portals, and standalone dashboards. Analytics in this manner is hard to find, unintuitive, and often irrelevant to most end-user goals. When disconnected from core-product workflows, users find it hard to leverage analytics when making decisions and consequently, won’t. A recent survey by NewVantage Partners revealed that even with BI tools that claimed to be self-sufficient, data scientists were still needed, resulting in a drag in productivity and adoption rates of just 20%.

There is a solution, however. It’s one that takes embedding analytics seamlessly into the product, and prioritising contextual insights over aggregate data. That way, customers can be informed and take action in the exact same place. The best embedded platforms offer extensive customisation to fit naturally into existing product workflows. And recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies mean insights can automatically be generated from data in a way that makes sense to the customer.

Challenges and opportunities

Although there is a huge opportunity in enhancing products with deeply-embedded analytics; there are also several challenges to face. Product leaders must see analytics not as separate from their product but as an integrated part of the user experience. They must build on their customer relationships, carefully evaluating exactly what data customers want and need, and critically, where in the product workflow they could use insights from the data.

Product leaders should also bring other parts of the company into the product-development process, showcasing the benefits of embedded analytics, namely increased revenue and customer loyalty and satisfaction. They should work closely with executive leadership to build a roadmap that justifies prioritising hiring analytics talent or investing in off-the-shelf tools. In some industries like health care, involving legal teams early on can help identify and solve regulatory or compliance hurdles that could complicate the using and sharing of data with customers.

Although these steps will require time and resources, the companies that tackle them will reap the rewards. They will be seen as innovative, differentiating themselves from the competition and becoming disruptive leaders within their industries. Their customers will derive even more value from the products, leading to greater customer satisfaction and stronger business relationships.



About the author:

Paul Scholey, Vice President of International Sales, Sisense

As Vice President of International Sales, Paul Scholey is responsible for growing the Sisense business in EMEA and APAC. He brings over 25 years’ of experience in the software industry, having previously worked in and led teams in consulting, pre-sales, and sales. Paul has a track record of growing early stage and midsize software companies, with specialization in building sales teams focused on accountability and value-based selling. Most recently, he was SVP of International at BlueJeans by Verizon. Prior to that, Paul held a variety of leadership positions at Oracle, Teradata, Pentaho and Business Objects.

About Sisense:

Sisense goes beyond traditional business intelligence by providing organisations with the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, embedded in both customer and employee applications and workflows. Sisense customers are breaking through the barriers of analytics adoption by going beyond the dashboard with Sisense Fusion – the highly customisable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform, that infuses intelligence at the right place and the right time, every time. More than 2,000 global companies rely on Sisense to innovate, disrupt markets and drive meaningful change in the world. Ranked as the No. 1 Business Intelligence company in terms of customer success, Sisense has also been named one of the Forbes’ Cloud 100, The World’s Best Cloud Companies, six years in a row. Visit us at