How to Get More Out of Your Analytics
Leverage Data Activation to help your analytics team drive action and business impact.
November 9, 2022
👋 Hi there! I’m Zoe, and I lead Analytics at Hightouch. We’re kicking off a series on how analytics teams can better equip themselves against dreaded ad hoc requests to fight burnout and spend more time on impactful work. You can find Part 1 of our series here.
So You've Invested in Analytics at Your Company
Having worked in data teams across several companies, it’s clear that lots of organizations invest in data teams and tools to embrace the many benefits of analytics:
- Comprehension of the inputs and outputs that drive growth and operational processes
- Visibility into company performance (and why it’s trending one way)
- Understanding customers better through behavioral analysis and segmentation
- Future projections of customer behavior and business outputs
- Governance and access control of data (after all, access to data is a great power, and with great power comes great responsibilities!)
These are all awesome, HUGE benefits to have at most companies, and often worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested.
Is Analytics Really Worth It?
Despite these clear wins, analytics often fail to drive action and impact–especially when it comes to these pain points:
- Nonstop ad-hoc requests for data pulls, random analyses, and customer segments (”Hey, can I get a list of non-paid users who have x and y features set up and are active in the last z days?” - sounds familiar?). The list goes on 🤯. All of this results in unused dashboards, stale CSV exports, and endless “spreadsheet metrics” while eating up a ton of time, keeping my team and me away from the work that actually drives customer satisfaction and revenue.
- Data reconciliation work due to the multitude of data silos (including dashboards!). Research has shown that, on average, businesses use 100+ SaaS tools, meaning 100+ potential sources (and silos) of data. For example, product teams have lots of data in Amplitude, but marketing and sales teams have limited visibility to that data since they work mainly in Hubspot and Salesforce. With all these “sources of truths,” my analytics teams’ time was then spent reconciling the numbers from Salesforce with the info from Hubspot with the data from Amplitude, all on top of the data pulled from the data warehouse. Talk about a disconnect from actually driving action with data.
- Tech debt tech debt tech debt. Maintaining and pruning these unused dashboards, keeping up with the Cambrian explosion of data sources, and prepping all of these CSV exports soon dominated my team’s day-to-day–especially given the lack of granular access control and platform governance in most of these tools. The time spent "repaying” our tech debt kept us from the deeper data work that motivated us to get into this field in the first place - like designing the experiments, models, and analyses that actually drive customer growth.
How Can Data Activation Help?
The craziest thing is that a solution to these pains exists! And to my happy surprise, there's ONE solution that addresses everything and helps you get more out of your analytics: Data Activation. I know, it sounds too good to be true - one solution that solves all the pain points I’ve described. But IT IS TRUE. It’s so true that I decided I wanted to work for the company leading the Data Activation movement.
When I joined Hightouch, I fully embraced Data Activation and immediately saw the impact on the business and my team. With Data Activation, I finally had time to work on interesting analytics projects that directly drive our business growth, like digging into our user behavior and product usage to inform our product roadmap and new offerings.
Specifically, Data Activation enables me to:
- Empower stakeholders better without unwieldy dashboards and stale CSV exports, so the answers to ad hoc requests are readily available in their favorite business tools. One of my favorite examples is how we use Hightouch internally for our growth marketing campaigns: we sync our source-of-truth customer segmentation models built in our data warehouse to Hubspot for email campaigns, to Salesforce for product onboarding, and to LaunchDarkly for in-app feature flags. Thanks to these syncs from the warehouse to those business platforms, we have incredible, automated collaboration among our Data, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, Growth, and RevOps teams!
- Break down data silos by leveraging our valuable data and models across all of our teams. We use many business apps and derive a lot of insights from our Looker dashboards. However, this same data also lives beyond our dashboards to directly power our business decisions. Our marketing team can trigger a nurture email in Hubspot based on customer behaviors modeled in Looker. Our sales team has insight–directly in Salesforce–to the product-qualified leads modeled in our sales dashboard. Data activation empowers our business teams to work with the most up-to-date data and useful models right in the platforms they’re most comfortable working in.
- Define granular access control so the right people have the right access to the right data at the right time. With role-based and label-based access control, I can define who gets access to what while ensuring (automatically) that data synced to our business tools is always fresh and consistent with our source of truth (our data warehouse). Oh, and not to mention my all-time favorite features: approval flows and git version control. Data teams can finally stop waking up to broken data flows, wondering what happened (and who to blame… 👀).
I can go on and on about all the ways Data Activation has helped me: it’s been a game changer in how my company and data team get more out of the benefits of analytics.