Data is King

Back when I was in college studying Political Science I spent a lot of time (or at least a lot more then I expected going into the program) studying statistics and data.  In retrospect that was a good thing.  Knowing how to get reliable data from focus groups, how to write a survey and avoid bias in my questions,  and how to accurately analyze the bulk data resulting from that survey have all turned out to be very valuable in my work managing user communities.  I’ve found myself thinking about data even more then usual in the last month as I went through the interview process and started my new position at Kontagent.

I’ll save the pitch for the product, but basically it’s an enterprise user intelligence platform.  In a nutshell it’s all about analyzing data from Social Media and Mobile applications to figure out how users are using the apps, where they spend their time, and how the developer can improve that app to create a better user experience.   All of that is made possible via some very sophisticated data analysis tools.

As I’ve been ramping up I’ve been spending a lot of time reading documentation and watching videos about the theory and practice around the product.  In particular, I watched this one today and wanted to share it:

Regression testing and statistical analysis may not sound super exciting, but if you’re in a business where customer experience matters (ie, every industry ever) it should be absolutely fundamental stuff.  Data Driven Decision Making is no longer “the next big thing”, it’s operant reality and if you don’t do it your competitors will.

I see this as part of a larger ongoing trend – one I’ve written on before. Just as Social Media is changing user expectations by allowing customers to give direct feedback, the rise of Big Data is allowing companies to process and react to that feedback in a way that has never before been possible. Whether you’re a video game developer or an auto mechanic, sentiment tracking and user engagement analysis are increasingly core tools. And the more customers you serve the more important it becomes.