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Data is an ecosystem of its own. Analysts drive the ecosystem by arranging complex bits of information into workable insights which can then be integrated into the product. What each business wants to achieve with their digital product can differ, but the solution always lies in the data that is collected. Making sense of the data and using it to your product’s advantage is a skill that is becoming extremely valuable. When any organisation or individual launches a product or technology, it is necessary to conduct a thorough survey of market potential and only then build the product. While a product’s initial success can be determined by ascertaining if there is a good product-market fit before debuting it, its survival depends on constant innovation. For any digital product to survive beyond the grand launch, they have to continuously innovate and improve to keep pace with changing market dynamics – to edge out copy-cat products and to stay ahead of the competition. This is where data analytics steps in and plays a crucial role. Your initial market survey may tell you there is demand for your product but only data analytics can predict your product’s lifecycle.

Data analytics is becoming even more important in today’s context with approximately 3.5 billion smart phone users worldwide. India alone is set to have 442 million smartphone users by 2022. With these numbers of technology users, not including desktop, laptops, tablets and phablet users, the quantity and quality of data that one can collect and analyze is unprecedented. Data analytics helps you optimize your product by giving you a deep understanding into how customers engage with your product, their motivations and their behavioral patterns. This analysis tells you how you need to innovate for your product to stand out in the highly cluttered market. A successful digital product is one that constantly evolves according to the changing tastes, habits and motivations of its users.

It is important to have dedicated teams of data analysts or data scientists who can help routinely make sense of your data. All the biggest digital products which occupy niches such as social media apps, ride sharing apps, e-commerce websites and apps, food delivery apps, digital wallets, etc., make use of the vast amounts of data they collect through their products to update and introduce new features. Brands like Facebook send out constant updates that carry new features that are welcomed joyously by their users. Many a times, users may not know how to put into words features they would like on the products they use. However, data collected makes sense of what the users are missing and closes the gaps for them. In such scenarios, users are pleasantly surprised that a feature they unconsciously wanted has in fact materialized in the product.

While the direct impact of data analytics is more innovative features and products, subtle indirect advantages of data analytics are brand recall and brand loyalty. A product which uses data to predict what their users want, before the users become aware of the need gap, will earn the attention and loyalty of the userbase. They become talking points amongst users and that helps distinguish the product from its competitors.

There are myriad examples of digital products that paved the way in their respective niches and then lost market space to competitors due to their inability to analyze data adequately enough to predict their user’s needs. Skype was a thumping success when it debuted in 2003 yet today Zoom calls have taken over. Orkut receded from our attention after the advent of Facebook. TaxiForSure disappeared after Ola and Uber took over. Blackberry Messenger lost its market share to WhatsApp. The app Vine got edged out by TikTok, and now with the current ban on TikTok there is a primed market space just ready for the taking! It more evident than ever that data analytics powers digital development and without a strong data analytics team in place your product risks losing its market share to a competitor.

– Uday Majithia, VP, Solutions & Service Delivery