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Get More Out of Your Analytics By Centralizing Your Data

By   /  December 23, 2015  /  No Comments

Learn more about Colin Zima.

If you’re like many modern businesses, you probably have a proliferation of SaaS products. Software like Salesforce, Marketo, and Zendesk allow you to collect huge amounts of data about your customers—which is great—but now you are storing each slice of data in a different place—which limits its usefulness. When you centralize your data and make it accessible from a single platform, you gain a more granular, robust understanding of your analytics, your company, and your customers.

Context Is Everything

ThredUp, a second-hand clothing marketplace, offers a good example. Looking only at historical transactional data, ThredUp can see that a typical user spends about $75 over their purchasing lifetime. They know that on that $75 of purchasing, they expect to make $15 profit. If, during a specific marketing campaign, they offer a $10 coupon to get people to the site and make a purchase, the transactional data tells them they will net an average of $5.

But, when ThredUp centralized their data and analyzed their transactional data alongside their marketing data, they were able to analyze their customers by cohort. They realized that those who came to the website from the coupon marketing campaign were far less likely to make future purchases—reducing their lifetime value. By offering a $10 coupon, ThredUp was actually operating at a loss. This insight could only be found by combining transactional and marketing data.

A Complete Picture of Your Business

The idea of context ties in closely with another benefit of centralizing your data: building a total picture of your business. With product data, marketing data, transactional data, web event data, etc. all in one place, you can see your entire business and answer more and more complex questions. For example, you can ask, “For each prospect that comes to our website from a campaign, I want to know: a) what percent get to trial; b) what percent buy and post-purchase; c) what percent use the product heavily; and d) what percent churned.” When different teams look at data that spans their entire buying cycle, they start to understand how their decisions and their actions impact the rest of the business.

This kind of analytics goes far beyond the surface-level data available from your SaaS providers. Fore more complex questions, the questions that truly impact your business, rely on integrating disparate data and creating robust, custom metrics.

Your Data Is Your Data

Most companies switch SaaS providers from time to time—and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s important not to leave your data behind, locked on your provider’s platform. Your data is a mission-critical asset that forms the foundation for a complete view of your company. Treat it with the care it deserves.

Owning and centralizing your data may seem a bit daunting but will ultimately help out your organization in the long run. Through this more comprehensive view of the data, organizations can start to self-serve within departments, knowing the data they’re viewing is derived from a single source of truth.


About the author

Colin Zima employs data to drive better decision making across businesses of all sizes, including high-growth start-ups and large corporations. Prior to Looker, Colin served as the Director of Data Science and Business Intelligence at HotelTonight, which he joined through the acquisition of his start-up, PrimaTable. Prior to founding PrimaTable, Colin spent several years as a statistician at Google in search ranking.

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