Top 5 user-facing analytics platforms

January 22, 2024

For SaaS apps or marketplaces, offering user-facing analytics is essential in today's competitive software markets. Providing users with data engagement within your platform is a competitive advantage, aiding in tracking, monitoring, and decision-making. Customizing the analytics experience based on your customers' data needs and literacy level is crucial. Building user-facing analytics in-house can be a challenging task that few product managers want to undertake.

Embedded analytics platforms offer a quicker route to market by eliminating the need to build backend infrastructure, user permissions, and the frontend visualization layer. However, these tools can be restrictive and potentially limiting for your users. This post explores popular embedded solutions and their capabilities.

Embedded analytics tools for user-facing dashboards

1. Vizzly

Vizzly is customer-facing analytics for modern SaaS. The company's thesis is to help SaaS companies build user-facing analytics quickly, without compromising the user experience or product quality.

Vizzly offers a semantic layer, takes care of user permissions, and provides a powerful visualization layer that's extensible with code for those who want more control. With Vizzly, customers can build and deliver anything from simple user-facing insights to advanced custom reporting and everything in between.

At Vizzly, we understand BI is different from user-facing analytics. As mentioned, you need more control. You need the dashboard or report to work with in-app logic, and APIs must be available to accommodate the infinite degree of nuance that exists across SaaS products.

Key considerations:

  • Reduces time-to-market for user-facing analytics considerably with an ultra low-code development process. With Vizzly Cloud, you can empower non-technical stakeholders to engage in the build process.
  • APIs and SDKs are available for extending the product and customization. For example, override dashboard components or use our React Hook for programmatic view creation.
  • Custom reporting option; end-users can edit user-facing dashboard views or build their own with your provided data. Try an example on our homepage!

Vizzly exists because we believe in preserving control while accelerating time-to-market. In today's landscape, minimal compromise should be necessary when developing user-facing analytics. Attractive to startups and mid-market organizations striving for a contemporary analytics experience.

2. Metabase Embedded

Next up is Metabase. Metabase is a business intelligence tool used for internal business analysis. As a secondary use case, the solution can be used for user-facing analytics. Metabase has a great open-source community, optimized primarliy for data literate stakeholders.

Key considerations:

  • Metabase is one of the few open-source user-facing analytics platforms. The platform boasts a large community of contributors, but the core focus is internal BI. Embedding is considered a secondary use case.
  • Self-Hosted & Cloud-based: similar to Vizzly, you can run Metabase on-premise or using their Cloud solution. If security is a key consideration, then you have good optionality.
  • Metabase's embedded analytics offering is iFrame-based, meaning there's very little you can do as the developer to make it work with your application or optimize render time.

Because the product is open-source, it’s popular with early-stage startups. That said, it is common for companies to graduate from Metabase and implement an alternative which offers a greater degree of flexibility and configurability for embedded analytics.

3. PowerBI Embedded

PowerBI, a Microsoft incumbent, is an enterprise-grade business intelligence platform. While in line with typical embeddable solutions, its primary focus is enabling organizations to develop analytics and reporting for internal business purposes, rather than user-facing analytics. However, it's worth noting that PowerBI has a decade of experience in offering embedded analytics and is well-versed in this domain.

Key considerations:

  • White-label solution with ability to change colours and fonts; can’t override CSS objects and isn’t extensible with code but offers a good out-of-the-box solution.
  • There are extensive data visualization types available due to its focus on deep analysis. The interface can be super bulky (90s vibes), but from a functionality point of view, it will cover most use cases.
  • The embed is also iFrame-based, presenting similar issues to that of Metabase. Embedded analtyics platforms are gradually moving away from this embed type (maybe PowerBI will adjust in the future).

PowerBI also boasts a substantial community of "experts" and "developers" specializing in assisting companies with customer-facing setups. However, it's worth exercising caution with tools that require a consultant for setup due to potential cost and time constraints.

4. Cube

Cube is a semantic layer that makes it easier for companies to build and maintain centralized data models. Some companies use Cube as the foundation for embedded analytics, leveraging other third parties for the frontend visualization layer, such as Metabase, Superset, or Vizzly.

Key considerations:

  • If you want complete and utter control of the frontend, then this is probably a good choice. That said, it'll still leave legwork on the frontend should you build the visualization layer in-house.
  • It's compatible with various open-source chart libraries as well as embedded analytics solutions.
  • The decoupling of the semantic layer and frontend visualization layer is a growing trend for large organizations. Why? To help create consistency in metric definitions across analytics tooling.

Cube may not be an out-and-out embedded analytics solution, but it is a good option for those looking to achieve consistency across their data organization when building user-facing analytics. It's open-source too for those with a preference to maintain data on-premise.

5. Luzmo

Formerly known as, Luzmo have recently doubled down on user-facing analytics with their embedded solution. Previously targeting the internal BI market, but made the move to focus on SaaS applications. Luzmo also has a custom reporting feature; allowing end-users to to edit views and build their own.

Key considerations:

  • Similar to Vizzly, you can build datasets and dashboards via API; makes for a more dev-friendly experience.
  • They have a cloud offering but no self-hosted solution. That said, Luzmo is SOC II and ISO compliant for those with security considerations to make.
  • There are a couple drawbacks: users still find that dashboards aren't very customizable from a visualization and stylization point of view, and some have also found the documentation hard to follow.

Luzmo may be an 'out-the-box' solution, but the APIs available for building and managing dashboards make it more compelling than embedding a traditional BI solution for user-facing analytics. That said, sentiment on customizability and platform flexibility remains poor.

Considering embedding analytics?

When choosing an embedded analytics solution for user-facing dashboards, only a few key factors truly matter:

  • Performance: dashboards need to render quickly, preferably in JS, not in an iFrame.
  • Customization: ideally, you can pass CSS objects or override components.
  • End-user experience: the dashboard can satisfy all levels of data literacy and complexities.
  • Developer experience: ensure your engineering team have the tools they need to deliver.

With Vizzly, you get a solution that doesn't force compromise. We provide an ultra low-code solution that is highly extensible and customizable, with available APIs for maximum control over the product experience.

Subscribe our Newsletter

Build, embed, share and delight your users with data
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.