Embedded analytics can be powerful for apps – but should you buy or build them?
Mobile and desktop applications generate huge amounts of data based on inputs from the user, as well as information passively collected. An app that is able to make use of this data in an interesting manner brings added value to the end user.
In a highly competitive market, this kind of "stickiness" is invaluable to app developers, and many are now providing such features as standard in their tools. But should independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators (SIs) or companies building internal apps build them in-house, or should they buy them from specialist providers? Let’s explore:
Deciding to buy? Key considerations when picking the right vendor
Today there is a huge market of vendors offering application development tools and services. Within this market, there are several firms providing specialist analytics and visualization tools. Choosing the right vendor is extremely important. So, how should you choose between these providers?
- Expertise While we can assume any vendor pitching themselves as an embedded analytics provider will have good knowledge of this technology, it is worth digging deeper. Has the company received awards for its work? Are they well-established and respected in the community? Third-party review sites are helpful here.
- Range of visualizations available Many vendors provide basic visualizations as part of their product listings (normally alongside many other generic offerings and widgets). However, in a market where your customers expect ever more powerful applications, you need to be able to update your apps with more powerful analytics. The specialism required to offer this sort of detailed insight will narrow down the field considerably.
- Cost predictability How does the vendor’s pricing model stack up against your budget? Obviously, you shouldn’t really be paying any more than what it would cost you to simply build the visualization in-house, so an affordable vendor is essential. However, too often, overly complex pricing structures from vendors result in unpredictable costs, making ROI hard to judge.
- Security and transparency How much do you trust the vendor? If you are collecting sensitive data about, say, your customers’ health, you want to be sure that the vendor isn’t also collecting that information covertly and selling it on the black market, for instance.
- Customization How easy is it to customize the service? Is it easy for you to modify the look and feel of the analytics tool so it looks and feels like the rest of your app?
Choosing the right partner will allow you to deploy embedded analytics fast, empowering your end users and making your app stickier. By including powerful embedded analytics and visualizations, you can differentiate your app, keeping users engaged.