There’s an app for that: Will business analytics look like Spotify or Netflix?

Written by Paul Scholey, Vice President International Sales at Sisense


Every day, more than 300 million people use analytics to make data-driven decisions — decisions that require digging through databases, combining multiple sources of data and utilising the most advanced analytics techniques. And most of them don’t even know it.

Take the 381 million users listening to music and podcasts on Spotify, for instance. Or the 221 million Netflix subscribers who are streaming movies and shows across the globe. Or even the 100 million people, wearing an Apple Watch or another popular wearable fitness tracking device.

The thing they all have in common is the fact that they are not business analysts or data scientists; they’re all just normal, everyday consumers. Yet somehow, they’re making decisions based on insights, coming from the largest and most complex data sources.

So when it comes to seeing the future of analytics in business, just look towards today’s leading consumer apps.


Informed decisions made easier with infused analytics

If it seems like consumers of these apps aren’t really using analytics, that’s because they aren’t – at least, not in the way businesses typically talk about analytics. Missing from these apps are standalone dashboards, static charts or any mention of data warehouses. Instead, these apps use data insights to offer informed choices to their end users like what show to watch, what music to listen to, and whether they’re on track to meeting their daily fitness goals.

Analytics is what makes these decisions possible. Spotify, for example, combines data from a user’s historical listening habits with other users who have similar musical tastes, and even popular songs recommended anywhere on the internet, in order to offer more relevant songs to listen to. This is an immense amount of data that even the most seasoned data analyst would struggle with; but for Spotify, it is done instantly, personalised to each user, and critically, the results are surfaced in the app itself.

This is how every leading consumer app gets millions of people to use data every day to make smarter decisions. They use cutting-edge technology to extract insights from data and then infuse those insights throughout their app. As a result, users have the insights they need in the apps they’re using, often unaware they’re using analytics at all.


Sparking action with analytics

Top consumer apps are also primed with innovative features that inspire their end users to take action. Traditional analytics focuses on descriptive analysis and sharing what already happened. More advanced analytics, however, is predictive, using historical data to make an informed guess about the future. Leading consumer apps go even further, offering prescriptive, guided analysis with suggestions and recommendations based on actions the user wants to take.

Look at smartwatches or fitness trackers, for example. They inform users of their calories burned, offering insight that, given their current rate, they may not make their goal for the day.But they also provide suggestions on what to do if they are coming up short, like taking a brisk, 20-minute walk, for example, to achieve the daily goal. These devices wouldn’t be nearly as effective — or as widely adopted — if they only captured data and made it available to query through an analytics tool on a standalone dashboard viewable through a web portal via or a phone or computer. Of course, that might be useful, but not as enticing to the user.

However, by having all of the data crunching happening on the smartwatch itself, users have the information they want when they want it in an easily digestible format – 92% of consumers expect a fast, frictionless experience. As a result, these smart devices have completely revolutionised the fitness and healthcare industries by simply focusing on helping people live healthier lives with ease.


Invisible analytics and innovation

The biggest limitation of traditional business analytics is that it is too focused on reporting. Various technologies have come and gone, helping businesses build prettier dashboards, dashboards that are accessible anywhere on any device, or even automatically generated dashboards. These advances made business analytics more efficient to operate, but did nothing to improve the utilisation of information. The future of analytics is helping people pick the right action by offering the right insights at the moment they are needed.

This is ultimately where consumer companies get it right. They focus on using insights from data to help people make smarter decisions, and not on the data itself. More businesses, including those outside the media and entertainment industry, are beginning to adopt this consumer-centric approach to analytics, and it’s paying off.

According to Deloitte, 44% of UK executives say AI is helping them to widen their lead or leapfrog ahead of their competitors by automating tasks and driving better business decisions into the future. Even more, recent reports indicate that 70% of businesses will be using AI, and 95% of customer interactions will use some form of AI-related functionality by 2030. By embedding analytics like those found in today’s consumer experiences and focusing on outcomes, companies can increase their use of data and analytics and evolve.

For example, the UK’s pioneering recipe-box company Gousto is providing households with convenient and easy-to-cook recipes to the tune of 8 million meals monthly, while reducing food waste.

Independent builders merchant Huws Gray is a one-stop-shop for its customers, providing everything from below-ground drainage products to roofing materials.

Meanwhile Disciple, an industry leader in SaaS solutions for the creator economy, is helping its digital creators build unique and targeted app-based communities around their content outside of mainstream social media channels.

Each of these companies provides a product and/or service made possible by ‘undercover analytics’, powerful analytics made invisible to the everyday consumer. The future of analytics is now – and it’s just getting started.


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 and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.


About the Author:

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.






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