Before investing in technical capabilities for data analytics, it is key to define the vision for your data. How will data add value to your business in a unique way?
Have you already envisioned how data will enable your business with a unique competitive advantage? In order to use data effectively you must set the vision for how data will tie to your organization, platforms, products and services. The best companies define a Data Vision and make strategic decisions in order to realize it.
An example I know closely, is Electronic Arts (EA) - where I used to lead the product team for the data and engagement platforms. Back in 2012, we had multiple data pipelines created as a side effect of a prolific M&A strategy. As a result, data silos had emerged across titles, platforms and organizations.
But then, a visionary John Riccitiello, put Kristian Segerstrale at the helm of a brand new organization: EA Digital. Kristian’s vision was to “turbo-charge” the new digital strategy of EA, summarized in 3 letters: A.E.M. - Acquisition, Engagement and Monetization. The A.E.M. framework helps you describe any digital business as a factor of its ability to Acquire (CPA), Engage (Time) and Monetize (LTV) users more effectively. This new digital strategy relied on the Data Vision as a key unifying factor across the organization
However, some important questions arose while implementing this strategy. At that time EA’s product distribution, marketing and revenues were still largely tied to packaged goods. So, how do you apply the A.E.M. framework to a business that is not entirely digital? Will the “A” include dollars spent in non-digital channels? What actions define an active user in “E”? How do you attribute the revenues in “M”?
The answers to these types of questions is what makes a Data Vision unique to each company. In order to realize it you need to make decisions. You need to define metrics, invest in talent, technology and most importantly: you need to build an organization aligned with the data vision.
That’s how at EA we ended up having global teams for Acquisition, Engagement, Analytics and Platform. This helped create momentum and dedicate resources necessary to break down the data silos. Building an organization with people and technology aligned towards a shared vision was key for success. At the time of this blog post, EA stock was trading at $73 - up 640% since 2012 - a spectacular performance driven by strong leadership, focus, global synergy and organizational alignment towards a unified vision.
There are many other examples, that show how organizations succeed embracing different Data Visions. King for example has traditionally developed successful titles following a systematic market testing approach, coupled with an effective data-driven user acquisition team. Supercell on the other hand, has a strong culture of giving ownership to “cell” leaders, who tend to focus more on the core gaming experience, while relying on data scientists to provide them with insights. Wooga’s vision of “Google meets Pixar” aims to inspire a mix of data-driven culture and high quality creativity. Rovio empowers their PMs with analytics and A/B testing tools to help them understand and optimize their games. Miniclip utilizes A/B testing to improve user experience and monetization, creating organizational learning. Social Point’s success on cross platform engagement is driven by a strong live ops team that manages in-app marketing in real-time.
Now, what is your Data Vision? Will A.I. have a bigger role in the user experience? Will you micro-segment your offers to consumers? What changes will you apply to your organization? Will you train everyone in SQL or R? Will you hire team of data scientists? Organizational design is a key enabler of a successful Data Vision. How does your organization integrate data into its design currently?
Start thinking about it now if you haven’t yet. Others are already moving fast. Your Data Vision will become an ever more important competitive advantage in the digital economy.
Alex Arias is the CEO and Co-Founder of Omniata, a unified data analytics and user engagement platform. For more than 10 years, Alex has been an entrepreneur and driver of innovation in digital services. It has been 2 years now since he embarked on his own Data Value Journey by co-founding Omniata.