Analytics Can Dramatically Change your Customer Experience

Steve BurgUser Experience0 Comments


Every company wants to have a great customer experience. We want our customers to easily use our products and have a great relationship with us. The recipe seems fairly simple: Hire a talented customer success team who will take care of your customer happiness. Build a support department that can answer any questions your customers may have. Ensure your product is easy to use so that there aren’t many questions to ask.


Sounds pretty straight forward — except for when it isn’t.


Most of the time, the issues customers are having are not issues you initially thought of when designing the customer experience. You may have missed a bug or two despite all the mechanisms you have in place to catch them. Who brings it to your attention? Your customers.


This is just one issue. The end to end customer experience is fraught with pitfalls that can affect how a potential and current customer experiences your product.


How does agile analytics help improve the customer experience?


Let’s start with the first place customers interact with your digital product — your website. Diagnosing issues within your website can be a tedious process involving multiple analytics programs, but it is a task worth undertaking. Use quantitative analytics to see where customers are dropping off in your platform.


If you are already a current user of Jaco, check your user sessions. You can then tweak the user journey based on your new found knowledge of what is causing users to drop off. If you aren’t already a user, do yourself a favor and get Jaco.


How does agile analytics help customer support?


Tools like Jaco help give insights into individual user sessions that can be attached directly to a support ticket with our custom integration. Instead of trying to recreate the issue, you can go to the session in Intercom, or any other support tool, and watch exactly what the customer did.


How does agile analytics help product development?


To begin with, analytics should be driving your feature development. The question then becomes, which analytics should be the driving force? Should it be your system logs? Or is it your quantitative analytics which tell you how often your users are engaging with specific features?
Here at Jaco, we believe that qualitative analytics should be your driving force. It is not enough to know that certain features are being used — you have to see how your users are engaging with them. Are they using each and every feature to its full potential? Are your users discovering new uses for existing features? These questions can only be answered by watching how your users use your product.


There are many many more use cases relating to the spread of data across an organization. The above are three applications of the same exact data source: visual analytics. Take a look at Jaco. See how it can optimize your organization, not just your department, but across all departments!


Interview with Alex Prokhorenko

Steve BurgUncategorized0 Comments

This week we caught up with Olexandr (Alex) Prokhorenko, product manager at Zuora. Zuora is the world’s leading subscription management platform, empowering businesses to launch subscription models and manage the entire lifecycle of their subscribers.


Steve: How would you define the role of Product Manager?


Alex: I’ve seen product managers often take on different, and sometimes extreme roles, based on the company’s stage and size. In fact, coming from engineering and technical management, I find that the position and toolkit of a Product Manager is loosely defined.


Alex: Over last decade that I have worked in product, I’ve spent several years in startup-size companies (less than 100 employees), and over 5 years growing with Splunk from 300 to 2,000+ employees. Currently I am with Zuora, we are over 500 people.


I want to first quickly comment on the common phrase, “product manager is the CEO of his or her product.” While this is relatively accurate and quite appealing description of the role for startup-sized companies, I largely disagree with it when we’re starting to talk about companies with proven traction and significant growth.


To have an opinion about product decisions does not equate making the decisions. The CEO’s role is not to build a product, but to build a company, which is frankly, is quite a different job. And this is where it gets more complicated but more interesting at the same time: look around at CEOs of larger companies, and how they run their companies based on what specialty they came from: engineering, marketing or sales.


My own definition for project manager role is to assume responsibility — to figure out a real-world problem, gauge its significance, and investigate how we can provide a solution. PMs are multidisciplinary technologists and doers.


Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially in larger companies. With the fast growing companies, product management tends to touch lots of areas across all lines of business, and often has to be broken into inbound (product-centric, engineering, planning, features, scope, internal blockers & communication) and outbound (field, partners, market, user interviews, etc) specialties.


Steve: Which areas are you responsible for in your company?


Alex: Currently at Zuora my role is within the core platform, I work on 2 out of 6 core pillars: pricing and rating engine. The ultimate goal is to empower our customers and partners to grow their businesses with Zuora. This might sound simple, however, there is large spectrum of businesses out there. The large number of combinations of pricing products and services, results in a growing number of options and factors that can influence one seemingly simple purchase decision.


Now with the economy driving transition of traditional businesses into subscription models, my job is not only to have the most dynamic and advanced, flexible product out there, but make the transition as painless as possible.


Steve: Tell us about the tools you use to optimize your UI/UX and increase conversions.


Alex: My work at Zuora has less UI/UX challenges, however, I’ve seen quite a bit of that while running growth & customer success at Splunk. Most of the end-user facing Web properties were ending up on my plate, serving a wide range of purposes: from support to sales. My job was to build, acquire and retain our users (within the scope of each product).


There are dozens of UI/UX approaches I used to take, but they all boil down to the following:


Brainstorm > Prioritize > Experiment > Graduate (built over the layer of deep analytics)


If you miss “deep analytics” part, you will fail. I’ve seen so many cases of “low-hanging fruits” experiments built solely on the top of generic Google Analytics metrics (pageviews, visitors, bounce) that have shown some initial improvement, but then ended up jeopardizing mission critical workflows. Nobody realized until it was too late.


Let me put it this way: I hate to see an improvement that I cannot explain. Why? Cannot explain means cannot reproduce, cannot sustain and have no idea what else is going on — chaos.


Steve: If you had to give a tip to an aspiring product manager, what would it be?


Alex: If I could pick 3 top skills, they would be time management, teamwork, and product roadmaps.


If you don’t know how to manage your time, you will fail big time. I strongly believe that eventually, one can learn to be a great product manager, but without strong time management skills, it will be nearly impossible.


Teamwork! Hire people who are so good that it makes you uncomfortable. While I’ve seen successful B-players teams, it’s easier and faster to go with A-teams in the long run.

And last, but not least, and going a little tactical. I see too many issues with the road mapping, so much so that I even wrote a blog post outlining the framework I use.


Steve: Let us in on some of your secrets. What are your favorite resources for inspiration and innovative ideas?


Alex: I love this question. I am very into growth hacking, I believe ideation is a significant part of success. While there are many ways to do it, there are two that I often find to work the best for me.


One is to diligently break existing process into parts and replace each part with something else to see if it makes sense. Another way is to participate at startup demo pitches and just listen.


Very quickly your brain will start “participating” and producing ideas reflecting on some (often minor) points or ideas. Once you have listened, go ahead and share your thoughts with the startups. Don’t afraid to “give away” your multi-billion dollar idea. First, it is not, and second, most likely than not, your conversation will let you stimulate your brain more.


Moving on, inspiration is important. However, the ability to distil signal from noise is critical, and I would love to point to my blog post on my ideation thought process.


In the context of running online experiments, I like Sean Ellis’ scoring ICE: Impact, Confidence, Ease. I generally try to balance my experiment portfolio with high impact, and high ease experiments — because I hate spending sprints worth of work, with no action in between. High ease experiences are those fillers that you add when buying something on Amazon to get to $25 for free shipping – sometimes they end up much more useful than the actual purchase.


Making the Case for Investing in UX Analytics

Steve BurgUser Experience0 Comments

UX Analytics might be the most important investment your company makes this year.


It’s a bold statement but we stick by it. Why? Your user experience defines everything your company does. It defines the path your users will take to navigate your product. It defines how your users sign up, how they check out, how often they visit and how they feel while using your product. So, it might be a strong statement, but we stand by it: UX Analytics might be the most important investment your company makes this year.


What’s the big deal with UX anyways?


We all remember the company called MySpace right? Remember how it was completely eclipsed by Facebook? Andrew Kucheriavy, CEO of Intechnic, argued on Forbes that “Facebook trumped MySpace because of its superior innovation and user-friendly platform — the same user-friendly service that brands like Google, Amazon and Airbnb have used to propel them towards global success.”


If Myspace didn’t convince you, here is a powerful statistic from Forrester: “On average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return. That’s an ROI of 9,900%.”


User experience — it’s a really really really big deal. It’s the first step in product design. UI designers will have a very hard time building an interface if the user path has not been clearly defined.


Why UX Analytics?


This is a very good question. Most companies are overflowing with analytics tools. Everyone has Google Analytics because it’s free so why not? Throw in the free version of Heap, a bit of MailChimp, some Intercom and you still haven’t shelled out a penny.


So why should you invest in an analytics tool for UX? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the user path for an app registration.



Every single arrow on this chart has the potential for drop off. Every single step has the potential for optimization. Without the analytics to see where hangups are occurring, under what circumstances, and to which kinds of users — your strategy for improvement is guesswork.


Observing exactly how users interact with your product is equivalent to super powers when it comes to building the best possible product. UX analytics is an investment in your product, in your company, and in your future. Choose company growth — invest in your UX.


Changes to Jaco’s Pricing Plans

Steve BurgAbout Jaco0 Comments


We would like to offer you, our customers, a detailed explanation of Jaco’s new pricing plans.


A lot has changed in the past few months — we were acquired by WalkMe and have been working hard to integrate Jaco into the WalkMe platform. We’ve made significant progress on the Jaco product roadmap, and are introducing groundbreaking features at breakneck speed. We are closer now than ever to delivering the Jaco product we always envisioned.


Two things that have not changed and will not change are our commitment to helping you learn more about your customers and our desire to maintain a transparent relationship with you, our customers.


Beginning May 22, the pricing tiers for Jaco will change for new customers. Existing customers will be grandfathered into their current pricing tier.


Building the next phase of Jaco


Our goal is to continue improving and building the core features of Jaco to make them more powerful, more intuitive, and more useful for you. We are also working to build the new features that many of our customers have requested. In order to do this, we are investing a significant amount of time, energy, and capital into the Jaco product.


Even though Jaco was acquired by WalkMe, we are still operating as an independent company. This means we are not a large corporation, and do not intend to act as such. We hope to continue helping you learn more about your customers and improving your products moving forward.


Here’s how Jaco’s pricing model will look moving forward. Prices are shown in USD.



Jaco Starter



The easiest way to get started with Jaco, starter is now an free plan with no expiration date. Smaller companies will now be able to get started with Jaco and learn more about their customers from day one.


With starter, you will have automated event tracking and session playback. This will allow you to get significantly deeper insights into your customers. As we release more features, starter will grow and help you learn even more!





As your number of users grows, we are committed to growing with you. Growth will allow users up to 25,000 sessions per month, allowing you to scale and learn more about your customers with just the click of a button.


With growth, you will have all of the features available on starter plus the ability to segment your customers based on how they use your product. You will be able to see similar sessions based on actions they performed within your product, allowing you to get a feel for the different types of users you have.



Contact Us


When your business expands beyond the growth plan, we’d like to build a plan that fits your specific business wants and needs.


Our enterprise plan will have custom features as well as a dedicated account manager so that you can always be in touch with us. We are committed to growing your business and helping you learn as much as possible about your customers.


If you have any questions regarding the new pricing plans, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us. We are excited about the future and look forward to building the next versions of Jaco with you by our side.


How UpNest Uses Jaco Session Recording to Optimize their UX

Steve BurgInterviews0 Comments

Since 2013, UpNest has been changing the way we interact with their real estate agents. They have created a marketplace that connects home buyers and sellers with the top local agents who compete for their business. They also happen to be one of our favorite customers here at Jaco. We caught up with Travis Sawrie, Product Manager at UpNest to learn a bit more about how they use Jaco.

Steve: What brought you to Jaco?
Travis: I go through cycles of obsession with Lucky for me, I checked out Product Hunt on the day that Jaco was “hunted.”

The timing was serendipitous because that morning, our team at UpNest was discussing the pains of discovering bugs, user research, etc. I quickly shot an email to our CEO about Jaco and we signed up that day to give it a try.

Steve: How has Jaco helped UpNest solve your product pain?
Travis: Jaco is like a digital one-way mirror that lets us make high-impact qualitative observations. Analytics software like Mixpanel and Google Analytics are essential for quantitative observations, but they don’t provide rich qualitative observations.

This is a very basic example, but a real estate agent on our platform might tell us that they are having an issue with a certain page. Jaco will show us that they didn’t notice an important button necessary to accomplish what they were trying to do. Our follow-up actions are to both educate the user on how to use our site the way it’s currently built, and also make that important button easier to discover.

Additionally, we move fast as a development team so that we can iterate and test quickly. It’s extremely rare to get a new feature right on the first try. Jaco provides us with instant user feedback sessions to make observations.

Steve: Who uses Jaco at UpNest and how?
Travis: We want everyone at UpNest to wear the product manager hat, so we’ve given access to most of our employees. Our sales, customer support, and marketing teams are able to use it however they want. Whether that be troubleshooting to make a customer with an issue happy, see how a landing page is performing, or reach out to a customer that saw an error page. We’ve even generated quick access links on our internal dashboards that will pull up a user’s session based on their IP.

However our dev team of engineers, designers, and myself as a product manager use it the most. We mostly find bugs, see how users are interacting with a new feature, discover front end edge cases for specific devices, and troubleshoot for specific user types.

I like to say that for every 30 minutes of user session time watched on Jaco, you’ll likely come up with at least 1 product improvement. With all of our employees able to watch user sessions, there should be no shortage of improvement suggestions!

Steve: Who do you think Jaco works for best?
Travis: I can’t imagine anyone working in web software not getting value out of Jaco. But if I had to choose a specific role, I’d have to go with startup product managers. I’m a little biased, though.

It depends on the scope of a PM’s role in their specific company, but PM’s should know their customers and how they interact with their product. I say startup product managers specifically because startups are often unable to conduct expensive user research sessions. Jaco allows product managers to quickly see the true behavior of user interactions.

Steve: Let us in on some of your secrets. What are your favorite resources for inspiration and innovative ideas?

Travis: For new and innovative ideas I’m usually found checking on outside sources like Product Hunt, podcasts (I highly recommend Intercom’s “Inside Intercom” podcast), other mature marketplaces, and case studies from communities like

But I personally don’t care so much about incorporating technology innovation if it doesn’t fit in with our customer needs. Simple ideas can have huge impact. I read that the best ideas are usually a new combination of existing functions. Sometimes a light bulb will go off with a team member at UpNest that realizes we can combine two existing functions that will make things easier for our customers. If you say, “why didn’t we think of that before?” in response to an idea, you’re probably onto something.

I’m fortunate to work right next to our account management team. These team members are on the front lines talking to our real estate agents, home buyers, and home sellers. They’re able to receive critical feedback from these users on how we can improve.

Must Have Customer Experience Tools

Steve BurgCustomer Success, User Experience0 Comments

jaco must have customer retention tools

Managing digital customer experience can be a daunting task. There is so much that needs to be managed and optimized and you just don’t have the time.

If this sounds like you, you need to think differently about customer experience and start utilizing different tools to help you become more proactive. The customer experience tools below will allow you to constantly gather customer feedback, maintain a single profile or source of data on each customer, and deliver a personalized experience in each channel.

8 Must Have Customer Experience Tools


jaco freshdesk

1. Freshdesk

Freshdesk is an award-winning cloud-hosted help desk solution with useful features and exceptional customer service. Its most significant features are: multi-channel capability; integrated game mechanics to increase agent productivity; multiple SLA policies, smart automations; and self-service portals.

Once set up, Freshdesk turns your support emails into tickets that you can track for rapid and accurate response. It also features live chat and phone support. With the iOS and Android app versions, you can take the help desk wherever you go.


jaco acquia lift

2. Acquia Lift

This site personalization platform can be used to optimize digital interactions between companies and users. Acquia Lift’s features include behavioral targeting, drag-and-drop content targeting, profile merging, segmentation functions and A/B testing.

The syndication hub streamlines data inputs and content management while reducing workload by integrating with any content management software. Acquia Lift also offers easy UI that helps marketers create a meaningful customer experience.


jaco intercom

3. Intercom

Intercom is a fundamentally new way for digital companies to communicate with customers, personally, at scale. It’s a CRM platform with a suite of integrated products for every team including sales, marketing, product, and support. Intercom’s products enable targeted communication with customers on your website, inside your web and mobile apps, and by email.


jaco analytics best customer experience tools

4. Jaco Analytics

Jaco is a new gen usability platform that analytics teams can use to understand how their customers are really using their product. Jaco offers recorded user experiences with your site; no matter how complex the app is or which framework is being used, Jaco can replay every user session as a video.

And you aren’t limited to watching anonymous interactions; you’re also provided a simple API framework to add unique identifiers and attributes to each visitor. Unlike current solutions, Jaco requires zero integration and no programming knowledge to get started. Within 5 minutes of signup, you’ll see real live replays of your users.


jaco qualtrics vocalize

5. Qualtrics Vocalize

This survey software can be used by businesses that need to actively measure how well they meet online expectations by asking their online customers directly. With Qualtrics Vocalize, it’s very easy to obtain customer insights, which can be used to drive strategy and anticipate the customer needs.

It’s very simple to setup and smart enough to fit into your existing systems. Qualtrics also offers great flexibility– you can configure and make desired adjustments in just a few simple clicks.


jaco conversocial software

6. Conversocial Software

This is a complete platform for managing all of a company’s social media interactions. It performs intelligent prioritization of tickets and issues, making sure important ones don’t get overlooked or delayed. It also compiles all of a company’s interactions with each customer onto one screen; simplifying agents’ workflow and allowing them work more efficiently.


jaco ethnio

7. Ethnio

Ethnio offers advanced UX research management. It allows you to send real-time requests to website visitors to give them the option of participating in a study. From there, you can conduct in-person interviews, send them to an online platform, send them to a survey, set up remote UX testing, or ask them to participate in a customer panel. Many people enjoy providing an opinion, and Ethnio helps you leverage that desire for UX research.


jaco userecho

8. UserEcho

UserEcho offers a community forum solution where you can give your customers the platform to ask, suggest, ideate and engage with your sites. Users can vote for features and you have the ability to organize your feedback community through categories and tags.


Five Steps to Transform Your Business in the Digital Age

Steve BurgData0 Comments


Digital transformation is not about technology, rather how organizations wield their digital tools.


Although we are deep in the age of digital, shift we know as digital transformation is far from over. Companies are completely reinventing themselves and constantly adapting to ensure that the next hot startup does not take over their business. However, many companies are buying technologies left and right and then figuring out how to use them just to keep up with the “digital age.” Let’s take a look at five steps you can take to ensure that the technology you are using is actionable.


Be strategic with your investments


Many companies begin their digital journey by making large investments. This approach is called a “boil the ocean,” implying a lack of connectivity to reality and logic. This should be avoided at all cost. When investing, whether in a startup or a partner company, ensure that they are aligned with needs of your company now, as well as your future needs. Test the technology, see if it fits your team needs, and only then make the investment.


Be business and data driven


The ultimate goal of any transformation is to drive business results right? The entire purpose of digital transformation has to be to increase the value of your company, either by driving increased revenue or becoming a more agile organization. Don’t pay for new data repositories when chances are you’ve already got a treasure trove of data waiting to be analyzed. Keep yourself focused on the end business goal, don’t be enticed by flashy tech that does not drive your bottom line.


Embrace the power of data and analytics


Data, data, data. This is ultimately what will help inform and drive every decision you make on your transformational journey. Data and analytics are both extremely powerful tools, but also very time-consuming. When you first implement analytics structures, you can find yourself staring at rows and rows of data that seem to make no sense. Stay focused, and find the actionable items in the data. Follow your analytics to determine the next step in your transformation. Let the data be your guide.


Ensure transformation is company-wide


We may have mentioned agile analytics once or twice on this blog, and there is a reason for that. No true digital transformation can take place without having a system that allows the entire company to become more effective. This is the core goal of agile analytics, to allow everyone access to the information that will let them do their job better. Let the data flow!


Find the balance between people and technology


It is important to recognize that while you may be bringing on new technologies, you are not eliminating your company’s most important asset: human capital. People are seen as the second biggest challenge to successful digital transformation, but are rarely considered a significant contributor to success.


Credit for success is generally attributed to the c-suite and not to the lower level employees. Those who stand in the way of your transformation can be replaced with new employees who view the new processes and flows as standard. It’s harsh, but it is the reality.


These are not steps to be followed in any particular order, but rather an outline of necessary milestones towards digital transformation. The effect these changes will have on the company and its bottom line will be significant, and will only increase from there. Keep these tips in mind, and while the transformation process will not be easy, it will ultimately be worth the journey.


Investing in Analytics Requires More Than Money

Steve BurgUncategorized0 Comments


While budget is necessary to build out your analytics infrastructure, there is a lot more to account for while building a successful organization.


Many large organizations have committed millions of dollars to data and analytics. It is no secret deeper knowledge lays the foundation for successful businesses. Data allows us to stay one step ahead of our competition, to lead our own industry. However, while making an investment in data is a very worthwhile endeavor, the investment alone is not enough.


According to a yearly study jointly undertaken by Forbes along with Ernst & Young, five areas are deeply impacted by analytics. In our brains, information passes seamlessly from cell to cell, but in the real world, the flow of information is not quite as seamless. We do have to contend with people who hold things close to the vest or are not good communicators. It is how we as leaders deal with this informational flow that ultimately determines how successful our business will be.



Let’s look at the above diagram, taken from the aforementioned study. In the agile analytics model, we would be able to start at any of the steps above and move forward from there. We have analytics at every step and are constantly adjusting to fit those analytics. However, when incorporating the human factor, lag sometimes occurs.


What is the impact of the human factor?


Since the above study is performed yearly, E&Y have been extremely helpful in providing us the exact answer. Two years ago, only 16% of companies had an enterprise wide analytics strategy. This past year, 23% of companies had made the transition into a model more similar to Agile Analytics. That’s a staggering 43% jump from 2015 to 2016.


So what is stopping 77% of companies from making the jump to agile analytics? Primarily, internal stakeholders: people who don’t believe that they need help from an external source to improve their portion of the business cycle.


What impact has agile analytics had on companies who do make the leap?


This has impacted the companies that have made the transition in numerous ways. In fact, 26% of the companies that took the E&Y survey commented that they had completely changed how they fulfill customer needs and their financing models. This is a staggering change to enterprise level companies. As you can see from the below chart, data is beginning to make every single piece of companies significantly more efficient.



Is the human factor always a barrier to change?


No, not at at. In fact, the human factor is also the leading driver of change within companies. Often times, we meet with the company “champion,” the one person who has taken on agile analytics as their cause and is pushing it to other stakeholders in the company. These are the people who often times become the company leaders due to their tenacity and drive to get more accomplished at a more efficient pace.


How do we overcome the human factor?


This generally comes from within the corporate leadership. When a champion knocks on a senior company members door, they must be taken seriously. Empower them. Have their back when other stakeholders stand in their way. If their tenacity holds, and they manage to get agile analytics through in your company, ultimately you will be seen as the backer of the champion, and not a barrier. You will benefit as much from their success as they do.


This sounds awesome. Let’s get started!


Yes it does! If you are a senior member of a company, no matter the size, get on board. Don’t just get out of the way but get behind your champions.


If you are a more junior employee, this is your shot. Become the champion of agile analytics. Become the champion of change because ultimately, you will be established as the expert in your company. You will gain increased visibility to senior leadership who will acknowledge that the coming success, no matter which department, will be attributed to you.


Applying Agile Analytics to Open Thinking

Steve BurgUncategorized0 Comments


Open thinking can be vastly improved by applying the agile analytics architecture.


Open thinking is one of the most commonly used building blocks when companies begin to build platforms nowadays. Companies like Amazon rely on open thinking to distribute information across their operations, marketing, finance, and technical teams. It is built for rapid expansion and scalability, allowing its proponents to constantly be in a growth state without any need to slow down.


However, like the prior building blocks, agile analytics will be vastly improved by applying the agile analytics architecture.


What is open thinking?


Open thinking relies on one core tenet: all of your data is stored in one place. Sound familiar? It should. We call this repository a DMP (data management platform), and it is one of the required pieces to a successful agile analytics architecture.


How do open thinking and agile analytics differ?


You might be tempted to say that open thinking and agile analytics sounds very familiar. You’d be right. They are familiar but differ in one vastly important aspect.


Agile analytics works across all available data: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data. Open thinking was developed to optimize the workflow internally within a company, giving all parties access to all of your 1st party data.


How does agile analytics help open thinking?


Agile analytics makes open thinking behave in a much larger way by bringing in further data sets to bolster the initial data. The 2nd and 3rd party data will allow us to broaden the capabilities of the 1st party data and ensure accuracy.


Let’s take the Amazon example and apply it to a product they already have going called anticipatory shipping. Anticipatory shipping uses an algorithm powered by Amazon’s 1st party data to ensure that they always have products in areas where they are going to be needed.


In open thinking, Amazon is connecting to their DMP and using past sales data combined with user and geographic information to make sure their local warehouses always have an appropriate supply of products in demand. So when you need toothpaste, Amazon already has toothpaste nearby and waiting.


Let’s apply agile analytics to the same algorithm and see how it improves. Let’s add in Scarborough 3rd party local demographic data combined with Experian segmenting and BlueKai web usage. We’ll also throw in some 2nd party social data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


We now have information that will not only help us figure out what items their customer might need a second time, but also what items which will be purchased in the near future. How? We’ll know what items they are loving on social media, articles they’ve read about specific items, what their local demographics are like, and what others in their demographic profile can afford.


Using the above information, we can now not only ensure that the items are in stock in local warehouses, but we can use the same data to inform on platform campaigns. We can show consumers the products we know they are going to be interested in and ensure the consumer can afford them.


The above example is one of many but as you see, bringing in more data can only expand the capabilities of your company, no matter what your process is. Data is something we should embrace and use across every facet of our companies to ensure greater success.


Applying Agile Analytics to Platform Thinking

Steve BurgUncategorized0 Comments

Platform thinking can be vastly improved by applying the agile analytics architecture.


In our last post, we discussed applying agile analytics to the different building blocks of digital transformation. By applying the architecture of agile analytics, we were able to vastly improve the first building block of digital transformation: design thinking.


In this post, we will make the next building block of digital transformation significantly more efficient: platform thinking.
What is platform thinking?


Platform thinking is the brainchild of Sangeet Paul Choudary as initially expressed in a post he wrote on medium in 2013. Platform thinking states that every business is an engine. It needs to do a certain set of things repeatedly to create value. If you haven’t figured out that set of repeated operations, you probably haven’t created a scalable business yet.”


There are three basic steps to platform thinking:


  1. Creating the engine: Figure out the repeatable steps necessary to create value.
  2. Oiling the engine: Test and optimize the repeatable steps to refine the process.
  3. Stepping on the gas: Repeat these steps over and over again for more and more clients until you’ve reached scale.


Where does agile analytics come into play?


In the same article on Medium, Choudary lays out the three ways a business can run using this formula: Using humans, algorithms, and users.
An example of each is:


  • HuffPo: Editors decide the content to prioritize each day.
  • Google News: Algorithms decide the top news of the day.
  • Twitter: Users’ tweets and retweets decide the top news of the day.


Agile analytics can optimize each and every step along the way regardless of the use case. In fact, in the agile analytics architecture, we like to fuse all three business cases together.


How do we do this? Let’s create a new content site. One that is powered by humans, optimized by an algorithm, and which takes into account how users are engaging with your product.


This would be a new type of content site, one that many publishers are currently experimenting with. Since machine learning algorithms require massive amounts of data to optimize, the site would take a mix of first and third party data to inform the human editors which content to create.


Applying agile analytics


In this example, our first party data is the site use itself. Our third party data would be general internet usage which you can get from companies like BlueKai and even second party data from Twitter.


So where is the user factor here? This is where it gets fun. Based on how users interact with the site, we could use cookie data to create a custom built site for each and every user. This would factor in data from other similar users using first party segmentation data with act alike audiences. It would also use your own browsing data to ensure the content you are getting is relevant to your interests.


Platform thinking does not disappear with the advent of agile analytics but it continually evolves. Instead of three separate thought processes, we have merged them into one and created a hybrid model based on platform thinking that is buildable, testable, and scalable. It is by all definitions, the Toyota Prius of the product design world. We have taken the best of what we had and merged it together to create a longer lasting, better performing, and more customizable platform using the same processes.