Building a Metrics-Driven Business at GoodData
Step 1: A Simple Plan
Here at GoodData, Customer Analytics is more than a good marketing spin, it’s how we will manage our business. We know that focusing on the metrics that drive our business is the key. Plus, we are inspired by three of our early customers – Enterasys Networks, TriNet and Gazelle – both of which embed analytics (and of course GoodData dashboards) throughout their core businesses. These companies have it in their DNA, from their leaders down to the front line sales, marketing and service folks.
We have come to realize that living the life of a metrics-driven business is deceptively challenging. Even as a startup – without too many people and processes, we are still awash in data and opinions as to which are the ones that really matter. Not to sound too Zen, but I firmly believe that Customer Analytics is about the practice, and not a magic destination or customer insight. After all, despite the promises of BI marketing for generations, metrics don’t make the decisions for you. That’s your job.
l will be blogging about GoodData’s journey to becoming a metrics-driven business as we dig deeper into the practice of customer analytics, throughout 2010 and beyond.
All we need to get going is a vision, some data and a simple plan:
- A Vision: we are fortunate to have a company culture that revolves around data (it helps to be an analytics vendor). We’ve seemingly always had a few GoodData projects with our Google Analytics and product stats in it. But honestly it’s been a back-burner effort as we built the platform and started the business. It took our founder Roman to really kick-start the effort. Look at this report that he created a few weeks back, nothing too fancy, but no one did it until he did. The next day, 4 or 5 other employees started analyzing the same data, and now we’re doing it with more focus and energy. Lesson learned: nothing helps drive a culture around data better leaders being metrics-driven themselves.
- Some Data: even as a startup, we have plenty of customer data. Our mix of customer data comes from our website, our business apps (Salesforce CRM and ZenDesk), and most powerfully GoodData itself. We’ve instrumented our platform to capture the metadata that surrounds our customer interactions. Put into English: we can track when customers engage in our product, what features they use, where they struggle, when they abandon, when they load data, create reports, build dashboards, invite co-workers, and when GoodData becomes viral. That’s a lot of data….
- A Simple Plan: So much data, so many neat and valuable ways to slice and dice it, let me write up the requirements and get our ops guys to get going on pulling the data in. I already know this will fail. Before I know it, the project will crumble from its own complexity. Sadly, I’ve been in too many Spruce Goose projects before around customer data. Here at GoodData, we are taking our success with agile development [production releases every two weeks] and applying it to customer analytics. So my simple plan is just to define a few sprints and get going.
In my next post I plan to talk a bit more about the simple metrics that matter to us, and talk about the first few sprints that we’ve defined.
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