Time to make your data work for you. In Hacking the Analytic App Economy, we show you how to build a data monetization strategy that leverages your company’s data to open new revenue opportunities, drive value, and help you thrive in the new era of analytic apps.

The COVID-19 outbreak and social unrest are huge challenges for individuals, society, and companies to grapple with. Some companies are laying off workers and others are shutting down operations. Others are pivoting their businesses, while a few are surviving by generating alternate revenue streams. Every company wants to protect its revenue against uncertainty and analytic apps can be a way to do just that.

Sisense for Product Teams

Build boldly in times of crisis

The rise of data and analytics usage means that every company is becoming data-driven. The rise of analytic apps means that every company is becoming a data company. It’s in times of crisis that we often take the boldest risks and can see the biggest rewards.

Why is a time of crisis exactly the right time to go after a new data monetization initiative? You can give your customers new ways to protect their revenue and drive operational efficiency.  

Charles Holive, Sisense Managing Director of Data Monetization and Strategy Consulting

So how do you know when is the right time to pursue a new data monetization initiative? With all the metamorphoses underway in global markets, now might be exactly the right time. Seize the opportunity to create an analytic app that will give you new ways to connect with and delight customers. Analytic apps increase your product or service’s stickiness and mindshare and can be a new revenue source for your business, to also delight internal stakeholders and senior management.

Is your analytic app a product or service?

Your biggest challenge at the outset of your analytic app adventure may be to determine if the project work should be positioned as a product or service.

Adding analytics to your product or service can be one of the most exciting things your company can do to truly differentiate itself from competitors. Insights added into your product can help your customers in a variety of ways: understanding their own usage patterns, making different usage or buying decisions (upgrading their plan, etc.), and more.

And the more users can take advantage of the analytics in your core offering, the more you learn about their consumption habits and behaviors! Digging into their usage patterns can give you valuable insights into improvements you could be making to your platform to give them more of what they want.

So what’s the best way to present your platform to customers? Should you be marketing your analytic app as a product or a service? In other words, is it a stand-alone product for a new customer, or are you also selling your guidance, customer service, and ongoing customizations along the way as part of an existing product?

Delivering the best of both worlds

In many cases, it’s probably a mix of both. What you’re really selling when we talk about analytic apps is a financial outcome, the path to which includes adapting and refining your offering. You want to manage the end-process, ensuring that your customers are using your product to its greatest effect, consuming actionable insights, and using them to make important decisions as they navigate your product experience.

Is your analytic app a product or a service? It’s probably a mix of both. Once you’ve established a process, you can shift from selling a service to selling a product. 

Charles Holive, Sisense Managing Director of Data Monetization and Strategy Consulting

Keep asking questions and validating (or updating) your assumptions. Once you’ve piloted your applications across five or so customers, and after you’ve addressed the same issues and delivered similar outcomes multiple times, you can use that context to shift to a product setting.

This shift will necessarily involve a repetitive go-to-market framework with standardized pricing and fewer requirements for change management, activation, adaption, and training. Again, keep in mind: when you’re selling a solution; you’re really selling a financial outcome.  

Selling your analytic app internally

Sometimes it can be really difficult to get buy-in on a project (even a really important one like monetizing your data) from other internal stakeholders. This is a challenging but critical step if you want your analytic app to succeed. Key colleagues throughout your organization need to understand the potential, future impact – and they will undoubtedly get behind it.

There are three value propositions that you can use when pitching your idea to internal stakeholders. Which arguments work best on which audience (execs, Data Teams, Business Teams, etc) will vary, but these are some helpful ways you can think about the value you’ll be delivering to customers, benefits you can provide, and the risks if you don’t! 

Three elements to consider when hacking your analytic app: Expose the cost of doing nothing, perform your best day every day, and benchmark to provide context to your numbers.

Charles Holive, Sisense Managing Director of Data Monetization and Strategy Consulting

1. Doing nothing can be expensive

Every company is becoming a data company, and that means putting analytic apps into your product/service. One of the first things you can do to get colleagues behind your analytic app experiment is to quantify for them the cost of doing nothing. More specifically, you need to drive home the fact that your company will be left behind while the rest of the players in their industry differentiate their products, understand their users better, and steal market share from you. If you create a sense of urgency for them, they’ll be more open to listening to your solution, then you can paint a picture of the value of building and leveraging an analytic app.

2. Delivering analytic apps requires creativity and focus

No one comes to work to be mediocre. Most product teams come in every day with a genuine desire to build products and services that will delight their users and drive revenue for their companies. Building analytic apps offers a powerful opportunity to do both these things and the only way to really make good on the promise they hold is by unleashing the creativity of your builders. Every team is different in how they develop ideas and iterate on a concept, so you’ll figure out the right process for you. One piece of advice, however: Don’t go right to the data; instead, consider the activity that they are trying to elicit and work from there. Whatever you build though, be bold.

3. Delivering value via benchmarking

Incorporating benchmarks into your analytic app can be a powerful way to educate internal stakeholders around the potential value to your customers. Users of a product want to see how their personal data and insights track with the rest of their industry and your internal stakeholders need to understand this. This is a place where the parallels between internal usage of benchmarking (are your contributors hitting their quality goals?) and external usage (where do your app users sit within their respective industries?) can be a powerful rhetorical tool for helping convince key personnel that your analytic app project can succeed and deliver real value for users.

Jumping in with both feet

Setting up an analytic app can be a complicated venture. Deciding when is the right time to go to market, how to position your app, and how to sell it to internal stakeholders are all crucial decisions that will impact the future of your business. You’ve got to delight and deliver value to your users, motivate your team, and have faith in what you’re building. Whatever your product or service is, monetizing your data is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss, so get to work and build boldly.

Jack Cieslak is a 10-year veteran of the tech world. He’s written for Amazon, CB Insights, and others, on topics ranging from ecommerce and VC investments to crazy product launches and top-secret startup projects.

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