Why you shouldn’t delay that analytics project

When a reporting dashboard is just one of the many feature requests on your SaaS roadmap, we understand it’s tempting to postpone. But having seen both sides of the coin here at Cumul.io, all evidence suggests that in-app analytics shouldn’t be a project you push back quarter after quarter.

We’re biased – let’s get that out there, but how you move forward with in-app reporting is an important decision to make. Starting on it now, rather than postponing, could help your business generate new revenue streams and bring added value to your clients.

But before we go into the reasons why you should start on that analytics project, let’s look at it from the opposing perspective first.

Why do SaaS companies delay analytical features?

There are plenty of reasons why you wouldn’t want to dedicate time to building an analytics module for your application: 

  • Your engineering team is spread too thin already; 
  • It’s not your core focus, and you have other bottlenecks on your roadmap that need to be addressed;
  • You’re not really sure if your customers see it as a priority feature;
  • The ROI isn’t clear, so you want to wait until you’re financially more secure;
  • Your team doesn’t have the necessary expertise or a project champion who can pull it off;
  • Your business requirements aren’t clearly set in stone yet.

First of all, these are all valid reasons for pumping the brakes. You are cautious of your team’s time, and you don’t want to jump into building something of which you’re unsure it will show an immediate return.

The problem, however, is that this causes procrastination in your organization. And unfortunately, just like a moth to a flame, analytics will keep reappearing on your to-do list until you bite the bullet and do it. Now, why is that?

Why you shouldn’t postpone in-app reporting dashboards

Given the SaaS ecosystem is hyper competitive, the importance of analytics is rooted in the fact that: 

  • Data has become a commodity, and users take for granted that reporting is built into any modern technology they adopt;
  • Users love it, and use these insights to gain more value out of your platform;
  • Managers need metrics that prove the ROI of your platform and helps them manage  their direct reports;
  • Your competitors have it, so you’re likely losing sales and seeing churn to them.

Besides the competitive advantage that analytics brings, not acting on it also means you are losing out on: 

  • Higher client engagement, resulting in more time spent off the platform; 
  • Useful product feedback, because less usage means less feedback;
  • Extra leverage to upsell your clients
  • More product evangelists that praise your solution as truly feature-complete.

So, by pushing back that deadline for implementing analytics, you’re holding back your product from hitting its true potential. As a result, you are losing out on revenue, and you may have product blindspots that hold you back. 

It’s clear that having at least some form of analytics is better than having no analytics at all. But how do you decide whether to build analytics in-house, or work with an analytics partner?

Developing a reporting module in-house: the caveats

Just follow the rule of thumb as you would do with any other feature. If it’s not something you’ll treat as a core competency with a dedicated team, then don’t build it in-house. The outcome will be underwhelming, and you’ll be weighed down by the time, cost, and maintenance of dashboards when you could be investing in your core product.

However, not building it in-house doesn’t mean you should throw the idea off the table just yet, as there are better alternatives.

Speeding up development with embedded analytics

Just like you would use Stripe for payments, or Intercom for managing chat & communication in your platform, you can use an integratable solution for reporting and dashboards. If analytics – just like billing & communication – is not core to your platform, the most efficient solution is to work with an embedded analytics partner.

You’ll drastically speed up the implementation cycle from months to just days. As a result, you’ll start seeing ROI and customer feedback immediately.

Common pitfalls when selecting embedded analytics

While embedded analytics combines the best of both worlds, there are a few pitfalls to keep in mind. Choosing just any embedded solution won’t necessarily help you avoid some of the issues mentioned earlier in this article. Legacy solutions tend to have the same effect on SaaS companies as choosing to develop an in-house solution:

  • They can take up to 6 months to fully integrate and go to production;
  • Due to their complexity, they still drain multiple developers and product managers from their valuable time;
  • It forces team members to become experts in a complex tool that doesn’t translate into widely applicable skills;
  • They lack intuitiveness for the end user, so even your platform users risk not getting the most of its capabilities.

So, while established legacy BI tools might seem like a safe bet, be aware of their level of complexity. Ultimately, it will lead to the same slowdown in go-to-market.

Reduce time-to-market from 6 months to 30 days

As a low-code platform with a 100% focus on embedded analytics, we’re bullish on Cumul.io’s position in this crowded field. With Cumul.io’s user-friendly drag and drop editor, anyone can build dashboards without being a data scientist or writing SQL. At the same time, it has the future of in-platform analytics in mind with API-powered dashboard capabilities, intuitive to set up for developers.

SaaS platforms like Selligent Marketing Cloud and Intent Technologies experienced first-hand that they don’t need to delay that product decision. They saw the immediate benefit of launching analytics sooner, rather than later.

Do you want to deploy a dashboard module in just 30 days? We designed Cumul.io’s pilot program to help you go to market within a maximum of 2 months. Our clients easily balance it alongside existing priorities. Typically, it requires just a single developer and/or product manager to get their analytics up and running quickly. All with the dedicated support of a Cumul.io Solution Engineer to guide you through the setup.

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