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The Why and the How of Interactive Analytics

Matt GreenMarch 07, 2018

By Matt Green, Director of Product Management at Interana

Our name says it all: Interana is Interactive Analytics.

It reflects a deeply held set of beliefs within our company about how people in today’s most innovative companies want to use data in a way that is fundamentally new.

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We think the workers in these kinds of companies want to – and can – freely and iteratively explore their data to understand the why behind the what, to discover unexpected patterns that can inspire new ideas, and to discover emergent behaviors and trends. Above all, they want to know the patterns in their service deeply, intimately, to provide situational awareness for every decision, no matter how big or how small. It’s what our founders saw and helped make happen at Facebook. It’s what I’ve seen and been a part of at the most successfully disruptive companies in my own career.

Yet companies that say they want to join this class of innovators and seek tools to support this often face two big barriers: their own fear that they don’t really know how to explore data effectively; and tool limitations that pander to this fear with a walled garden approach to analytics.

Let’s confront this fear first. It usually comes both from individual contributors, like PMs and others who are expected to use data in their jobs, and from their bosses. For the ICs, because using data for themselves is new, and they’re often great, humble people who have the potential to do much more than they themselves believe, they don’t have confidence in themselves to know where to start. For the managers and execs, using data the way people do inside companies like Facebook is often so different than how things worked when they were ICs, so it’s easy for them to fall prey to the fear that their people just can’t figure data out for themselves.

What I’ve seen time and time again is that in actual practice, people given powerful, exploratory analytics surprise themselves, and their bosses, with what they can do for themselves with their data. The bottom line benefits through faster product innovation, more effective customer success, and optimized content, all coming every day from the trenches.

But to make this happen, you have to build an analytic tool that has a user experience and back end technology that is designed to bring people along and free them to iterate quickly, safely and with growing confidence. That’s what we designed Interana to do, and making Interana better and better at doing this is our primary mission as Interana’s product team.

How does Interana’s experience and technology explicitly support interactivity? How does that contrast with other approaches? In Part 2 of this series, I’ll show you how Interana lets you open the gate for interactive analytics.

 

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