When you think of your business’ data, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Graphs, charts, and databases? Spreadsheets filled with row upon row of figures waiting to be put to use? While all of these things are important to your business’ data structure, they’re only individual parts of an extensive data ecosystem, an understanding of which is critical. Data ecosystems provide companies with reliable data to understand their customers and to make better pricing, operations, and marketing decisions.
What is a Data Ecosystem?
A data ecosystem is defined as a collection of infrastructure, analytics, and applications used to capture and analyze data. These applications collect and filter information for businesses to better understand their users, website visitors, and audience members. The term “ecosystem” is used because data ecosystems are dynamic and expected to constantly evolve to accommodate the changing needs of your organization.
At their core, data ecosystems are used to capture data and produce meaningful insights. As customers use products, especially digital ones, they leave behind data trails. By creating a data ecosystem, companies can catalog and analyze data trails so product teams can better understand user preferences. The best data ecosystems are constructed around a product analytics platform that enables teams to integrate multiple data sources, provide machine learning tools for automation improvements, and track user cohorts to simplify calculating performance metrics. Additional applications that analytics platforms empower include increasing user engagement, increasing user retention, and conversion tracking and marketing funnels.
Creating a Data Ecosystem
The three essential elements of a data ecosystem are infrastructure, analytics, and applications. Infrastructure can be thought of as the foundation on which everything else is built. It’s the hardware and software that capture, collect, and organize data, including servers for data storage, search languages like SQL, and hosting platforms. Analytics serves as the entryway that teams use to access their data ecosystem. Analytics platforms sift through and summarize the data within the infrastructure, so all data is visualized in a centralized place. At this level, an organization can segment users and measure them with marketing funnels, identify the traits of ideal buyers, or automatically send in-app messages to users who are at-risk for churn. Finally, applications are the individual components of the ecosystem, the services, and systems that act upon data and make it usable. At this level, users can work with their analytics data to drive critical outcomes across the organization, like a marketing team drumming up leads based on activity or a sales team tracking key user engagement. Finally, applications are the individual components of the ecosystem, the services and systems that act upon data and make it usable.
Optimizing Your Data Ecosystem
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing your business’ data ecosystem. There are, however, two concepts you can keep in mind as you work towards the right fit; democratizing your data science and establishing strong data governance. A key benefit of good data management is that everyone has the ability to access reports and insights. By democratizing your data and purchasing a large number of licenses for your analytics software, rather than restricting access to only a few employees, you can prevent bottlenecks in the flow of information and promote a frictionless exchange of information. That’s not to say that you should leave everything unbound, however. Setting rules and boundaries for employees about collecting, protecting, and accessing data is essential for shielding your company from liability and complying with federal laws about privacy protection. A marketing analytics agency, such as Bluetext can assist with prescribing the right data ecosystem tailored to your organization’s needs.
Impactful Outcomes of a Data Ecosystem
For an organization to remain competitive in any industry, they have to have a comprehensive understanding of their data. Understanding your company’s data ecosystem is the first step towards segmenting your user base, learning who they are, and revealing how they interact with your business. Informed decision-making at every level of an organization stems from understanding and engaging with its data ecosystem.
It’s no secret the digital marketing industry depends upon and craves data. Any piece of information gathered about a user can be used to strengthen your lead generation, campaign or website strategy. While every digital marketer is hungry for data, there is no value without context and robust understanding. Marketing analytics can and should be used to inform, as well as validate any digital strategy.
Contact Bluetext if you’re interested in turning analytics into action.