More Questions than Answers When Reviewing Data? Good, you’re doing it right.

Here we go, another data guy writing another data article about data. Rather than bounce from buzzword to buzzword or tell you what your data should look like and what your people should be doing but aren’t, I thought we would spend our time together talking about my data and the rabbit holes that my team chases it down when looking for answers. Apparently, it has no regard for my status as a supposed data expert. The simplest data in my world is generally Google Analytics. Fortunately, this data is extremely current and very deep, meaning that it offers an endless number of rabbit holes down which one can get lost. Most people understand the basic metrics that are available in their Google Analytics dashboard; visits, bounce rate, time on site, etc… Typically, these are used to measure the effectiveness of one’s marketing and ensure the website converts visits to some action that correlates to revenue. Rather than discuss the basics, let’s look at the analytics for actual users of the TrackResults platform which is the true measure of the value we provide to our clients.

More often than not I find myself logging into Google Analytics because someone has asked me to find an answer to a specific question. Usually, something to the effect of “how many users log into TrackResults every day?” or “how long does the average user spend in TrackResults?” In case you’re wondering at any given time an average of 3,608 users are logged in and just over 20 minutes respectively would be the simple answers. Unfortunately, it gets considerably more complicated from there. The follow-ups range from “which day of the week do we see the most users?” (Monday No surprise here…you really shouldn’t need software to answer that) to “which mobile operating system is most common amongst our Mexican clients?” (iOS, twice as popular as the nearest competitor).

We are usually looking for answers to these questions because we are prioritizing development projects or making sure our servers are configured in the way that provides the fastest possible load times for our users. Sometimes we want to make sure that clients we haven’t heard from in a while are getting the most out of the system. If a number of sessions or average duration of a session are dropping it’s probably a good sign that we should reach out to them.

The examples above just scratch the surface of the data that is available and its uses. When a question arises, most team members have a theory as to the cause and solution. Often, the answers we find are perplexing and fail to support our original hypothesis. What happens when revenue is up and all of the corresponding metrics (site visits, conversions, and confirmation page views) are down? The first layer of data and often the second will not provide the answers you seek. Where do you go from there? How does my description of this situation compare to your experience? One of the perks of being the boss is that we have key staff that we trust to distill the raw data into the few KPI’s we really care about. Does that mean we should never look at the reports that they see? No. While executive summaries are an important and necessary tool, it is critical that decision-makers understand the reports from which the summaries are derived. If your car is making strange noises, you don’t assume that everything is fine because the check engine light isn’t on.

“Then On” pivoting is one of our most underplayed features that I have learned NOT to live without. In product, we constantly run checks in the various accounts as we push new features and bug fixes. To be honest, it pains me when I land in an account that doesn’t have the Then On reporting functionality. I’ve personally noticed a 30% increase in time to validate when Then On is not available…

Here are 4 ways I use Then On:

1) Comparison Analytics
How’s your year going so far? What months were strong and what months were weak? These questions are easy to answer in TrackResults, but when you also want to see Who, Where, What Campaign, Team, etc… drove or dove month over month, or week by week, you really need “Then On”.
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2) Data Validation
Are dispositions, or other sub data, being categorized correctly? Who is entering “dirty” data? Data accuracy is huge. If you are basing resource decisions like hire/fire or training directives off of dirty data, then fingers crossed you don’t accidentally let the best people go or waist time training the wrong person.
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3) Perspective
High-level data is great, but when you add depth you may find something unexpected.
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4) It’s Fast
Use row selection like a filter. Clicking modify and updating the filter criteria to single out the values you want to dig into is a great technique for the ear popping deep dives, but when you just want to get your feet wet and keep moving, try first setting the Report On by your primary dimension, then check a couple rows, and add a Then On criteria to drill in one layer deeper without leaving the view.

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Who is the owner of this red-hot ride?  If you guessed Software Engineer, you are correct!

 

 

Data, Analytics, and Insights: How are they connected?

Data and analytics build off of each other to deliver deep understanding, or insights, into your user base. Insights provide essential wisdom about your users and reveal actions you can take to better your business. However, these insights cannot be obtained without analytics, and analytics is useless without data.

Think of the three as a step by step:

  1. Collect data
  2. Apply analytics
  3. Interpret insights

Building off of the rock-solid foundation of your own data, you can use analytics and resulting insights to grow and develop your business.

The Inn Resorts have selected and are implementing TrackResults for its powerful sales activity tracking and analytical reporting. The Inn Resorts run one sales center and three check-in hotel properties all located in the beautiful “Golden Zone” in Mazatlán, Mexico. We are thrilled to have them on the team as they take on the expansion of the company’s vacation club led by recently appointed VP of Sales and Marketing, Juan Zamora.

TrackResults Co-Founder Todd Rodgers (seen below in the pink bow-tie) known for his love of Poker and Philanthropy, has been competing in the 2018 World Series of Poker this past week in Las Vegas, Nevada. With a current chip total of $183,000 he has been placed at a featured table for the IMG_2350rest of this evening. ESPN2 is covering the event and will be broadcasting until midnight ET tonight. Tune in and see Todd go up against the best in the world all while decked out in his signature TrackResults Poker Attire. I’m not a betting man but I’ll wager we don’t see anyone from Domo or Tableau at his table.

 

 

What is customized software?

Build vs. Buy? It’s the dilemma that just won’t die. Often the answer comes down to budget. Even when the more expensive option is best, the disparity in cost between purpose-built solutions and out-of-the-box tools can be insurmountable. Custom software is a type of application developed specifically to suit a particular business or an organization to fulfill its specific business-centric requirements. There are many benefits of designing and developing software exactly as per your requirements. Here is an article by Lisa Michaels on how custom-made software can benefit your business. It sheds light on the real cost of making the wrong decision when deciding on a software solution.

 

Software tools have advanced to the point that almost anyone can access Business Intelligence and perform at least basic analysis within their organization. Small and medium-sized businesses have access to data that just ten years ago was available only to the largest and most profitable companies. Now that BI is no longer a luxury only the richest can afford, companies are seeing varying results from their BI efforts. Why do some businesses seem to be getting more from their BI efforts than others? The reasons are as varied as the companies themselves.

Here are 2 ways your business can maximize the value of your BI.

 

Spread it across your whole team

This information shouldn’t be a secret shared only in the boardroom. One of the most powerful things about having well-analyzed data is that it allows managers to share the metrics that are important to their whole team. When you give an employee a clear benchmark they have a way better chance of improving and are able to focus on the exact area where improvement is needed. The value of the data you have is directly proportional to the number of people in your organization that understand it.

 

Automate

BI is only as good as the data behind it. Many businesses resort to manual processes to meet this need, manually extracting data into Excel and preparing it for reporting can be extremely time-consuming. This process not only wastes time, it leads to data errors. A company cannot have full faith and confidence in data that was gathered manually. You must automate your data collection wherever possible and normalize it within a data warehouse and through the use of an ETL tool, this will save time and reduce errors in your data.

 

Customer data is the core of your organization. It allows you to engage with customers and prospects to deliver exactly what they need. Customer data is only as valuable as it is accurate, so it’s crucial that you have confidence in the data that is influencing your decisions. By cleansing your data, you will see many benefits:

 

  1. Improved data quality – By cleaning your data, the problem of incorrect, tainted data is effectively removed. This will help create a more efficient prospect list which will dramatically boost your customer acquisition efforts.
  1. Increased productivity – By having a database that has been cleaned and properly maintained, management can maximize staff productivity and efficiency by quickly and confidently finding reliable records.
  1. Improved account management- Having a clean database gives you the power to more effectively analyze and manage your company’s spending and creates clear opportunities for upsells. Clean records display where funds are going and if there are any ways to cut costs.

 

At the end of the day confidence, or lack thereof is what really influences key decisions. The best way to create this confidence is to have a credible third party audit your data hygiene and help correct any areas that need improvement.

 

The TrackResults Revenue Detail View now offers more custom features than ever before. With up to 12 columns of data, you can summarize Sale Amounts, Down Payments, Remaining Balances, and include up to 5 Fee Types.

One of our most prominent clients came to us with a request to not only break out how Down Payments were being collected, but also how much was collected per payment method. While this is just one example of use, it’s a big one. For reconciliation purposes alone, they’ve already saved a significant amount of accounting time, but now they also have analytical insight into what methods are most effective for collecting down-payments.

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Let us customize the Revenue Detail View for you too. We are now able to summarize on three previously unavailable fee types, and use custom naming to match your preferred terminology. If you don’t use all of the available data points, we simply won’t show them on your view.

How would you like to put your revenue data to work?