Building and Optimizing Your Data Ecosystem

You’ll find that product ecosystems are not static and centralized like data environments typically are. Instead, they incorporate an encompassing analytics platform that your entire organization can use to track user groups and monitor performance metrics by automating analysis from multiple data sources. 

As we explain below, the modern data ecosystem is formed by the complex interactions of tools and applications that both gather and organize data into actionable information. 

What Is a Data Ecosystem?

A data ecosystem is the sum of a company’s infrastructure and applications that work together to collect and organize data. These applications collect and filter information for businesses to better understand their users, website visitors, and audience members. The best way to build a functional data ecosystem is to start with a product analytics tool and build out from there. 

The Kissmetrics product analytics tool focuses on organizing data into reports so that your teams can extract useful insights. When you build your tools around the idea of gathering actionable information and measuring your progress through KPIs, you’ll save yourself time and effort in the future.

Since it’s an ecosystem and not an environment, your applications and infrastructure must be designed to evolve over time to accommodate your business’s changing needs. Because every business has different scopes and goals, there is no single solution for a data ecosystem. The applications and cloud services making up the infrastructure must be flexible to allow for future modifications and improvements, thus allowing your company to grow. 

What Are the Main Components of Big Data’s Ecosystem?

There are three major components of the data ecosystem: 

Data Sources

As the name implies, the data sources are where your data is coming from. How is your infrastructure gathering information, and where does that data originate from? This component also includes linking the disparate data to draw meaningful conclusions in the analytics step. 

Data Management

Data management includes integrating applications, the storage of data, and how your infrastructure processes the data into readable reports. Without the ability to properly store and access data in the future, capturing it becomes all but meaningless. 

Data Analytics

Data is virtually useless without critical thinking and proper analysis. Otherwise, you’re stuck with massive amounts of numbers that don’t translate into any actionable strategies. Data analytics is the process of drawing insights from reports and making sense of the numbers. 

Analytics tools can help you understand why certain users are at risk for churning and others remain loyal to your company. 

How Do I Create a Data Ecosystem?

There are three major aspects to consider when it comes to creating your company’s data ecosystem: 

Infrastructure

Your data ecosystem infrastructure is the foundation of everything else. Imagine it as the ground and the rivers for your forest to grow out of. You can’t have any trees, grass, or animals without soil and water. Your infrastructure stores collected data in a database as one of three subtypes:

  • Unstructured data – unorganized data like text responses to a survey. 
  • Structured data – organized data like you might find in an Excel spreadsheet listing the total number of purchases made.
  • Multi Structured data – data arrives from multiple sources that can be structured or unstructured. 

Analytics

Think of analytics as the monkey who swings between the branches of your applications in the data ecosystem. Analytics helps you tie everything together and make something useful out of the data. 

A monkey takes what it needs from trees, picking fruits and creating a tasty meal. As the analogy goes, your analytics tools will grab the data it needs to pull insights about your products, like which users commonly purchase them. 

Applications

The applications are the trees of your metaphorical forest of a data ecosystem. The trees give the forest shape and form. Applications allow teams to access data across multiple platforms and utilize the data as it comes in. 

How Do I Optimize My Company’s Data Ecosystem?

Optimizing your company’s data ecosystem will require patience and time as every company has different goals and a different type of data ecosystem. In the meantime, there are a couple of ways to keep things running smoothly. 

Democratize Your Data Science

One of the major benefits of good data management is the ability for everyone to access reports and insights. When just a few people have access to the data, it can cause a bottleneck of information flow. Purchasing a large number of licenses for your data analytics software eases that bottleneck and helps your teams work collaboratively and efficiently. 

Consider Data Governance

Considering the enormous scope of gathering data and analyzing it, your company needs to set rules and boundaries for everyone about collecting, storing, protecting, accessing, and using data. 

These rules shield your company from liability and help you comply with any federal laws about privacy protection and how you’re able to leverage personal data. 

Why Do I Need a Data Ecosystem?

With a solid data ecosystem, companies can make fact-driven decisions about operations management, pricing, and marketing campaigns. All products, but especially digital ones, record how a user interacts with your company’s products and services. Data can help provide valuable insights into why users behave the way they do. The sections below dive into the specific benefits of data ecosystems for businesses. 

Increases User Engagement

When users feel like their voices are being heard, they’re much more likely to start a conversation. User feedback provides some of the best information about your company. With a data ecosystem in place, users can discuss their reactions to changes in your website, products, services, or advertising. 

Identifies Hidden Data Relationships

It’s not always easy to see the relationships between certain factors. Which demographic factors influence whether or not a visitor is more likely to become a user? Who should you be marketing your company to? Why do users leave your website without following through with a purchase? 

The Kissmetrics product analytics tool can uncover hidden relationships between data points that it would take you a long time to see on your own. 

Notifies Teams of Changes

With the ability to track user reactions and interactions with your products or services in real-time, you can monitor how they respond to updates or changes in everything from your company’s advertising strategies to features. This way, you’ll know if you take a step in the wrong direction and can work to change it to suit your clients better. 

Tracks Conversions and Marketing Funnels

Watching your marketing funnels to ensure that potential users are directed through the process of completing their purchase is the heart of every business. With Kissmetrics in your data ecosystem, you can track your conversion rates and see what works for your audience and what doesn’t. 

Increases User Retention

The flipside of knowing when users react poorly to new updates or features is that you can incentivize users to continue using your products and build company loyalty by monitoring your KPIs with Kissmetrics. 

Knowing what your audience wants is the best way to satisfy their needs and keep them coming back for more. 

Conducts A/B Testing

With A/B testing, you can monitor the difference in user engagement for two different versions of the same content. This can be done by comparing two email campaigns with different wording, the same social media post made on separate platforms, or similar concepts. 

Integrates with Other Applications

Automating manual processes saves your employees time and overhead costs that could be better spent on running your business and improving your products. Everyone has heard that, but one of the best ways to facilitate that automation is to connect your applications so that you don’t receive everything piecemeal.

By integrating your applications into a central organization system, you ensure that everything is working and sending you the data to be compiled into neat reports. These reports make it easier to see the big picture and form strategies. 

Additionally, integration allows multiple teams to all have access to the information at any time. 

Conclusion

Understanding your company’s data ecosystem is the first step towards segmenting your user base and knowing who your users are. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to effectively market your product or service to a broader audience with similar needs and customize your company to be what your clients want to see. 

Contact Kissmetrics to get started building your data ecosystem today.

 

Sources:

  1. What Is Unstructured Data & How Can You Analyze It? | Monkeylearn.com
  2. Janev V. (2020) Chapter 1 Ecosystem of Big Data. In: Janev V., Graux D., Jabeen H., Sallinger E. (eds) Knowledge Graphs and Big Data Processing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12072. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53199-7_1
  3. 5 Key Elements of a Data Ecosystem | Harvard Business School Online
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