Establishing the base foundation: 3 steps to building descriptive analytics

The data for your business does not exist until your business designs a product (or integrates with one) that generates it. Once everything is in place and the lights turn on, it’s your customer’s usage that creates the data you want to mine.

But what happens now? Are you ready to use that data to drive further products and recommendations? Or will it just migrate from one system to another. Only to collect dust and go unused? Here are the first steps you can do to take advantage of your data right out of the gate.

1. Pick a key focus

Determine the core areas of how your customers engage with your product. For example, in the enterprise events industry, core areas could be; content at the event, sponsors, registration, check-in, etc.

2. Summarize your focus by key attributes

Describe the data using key attributes. It is best to build these visually as trends and anomalies are harder to detect with just a spreadsheet rather than a chart. For example, a SAAS company might want to describe customer usage on a self-serve reporting product. The data can be described by customer type, report category, etc.

3. Establish the baselines and determine what is expected behavior

If you want to build your business from the ground up to take full advantage of the data, then a baseline performance must be measured and established. Now with those baselines established, decide if the baseline is acceptable? It is hard to fix or improve anything until you first know what the expected behavior should be. Ideally you’ve chosen a platform and business process to clearly and effectively communicate baseline metrics for the core areas of your product.

So what happens next?

Now you’ve established a repeatable pattern for kicking off data projects. The project can now transition to a diagnostic state. In our next article we’ll discuss how you can detect behavioral changes with your customers and determine why.