Most enterprise companies have plenty of data. However, most teams within them don’t have the data they need. Or they do have the data, but it’s too hard to use.
It’s ironic, don’t you think?
You see, the problem with building products in enterprise companies isn’t bureaucracy and systems. Not directly.
It’s that the bigger the company is, the harder it is to stay connected to your users.
When you’re small, passion for the product and taking risks are part of the culture.
Small orgs can easily:
Jump on emerging trends
Iterate features on market feedback
Talk to customers directly
Observe sessions from a smaller pool of users
This means they have a greater view of what their users do at any given time.
At large companies, there are more layers of resistance between you and the user:
Your product is complex, so it’s hard to see where your customers go.
Each piece of the product is now run by a separate team, so it’s hard to know how the whole thing works.
Different areas of the product were built for separate personas, and parts may be bolted on through acquisitions.
Business metrics matter most, so now users’ needs are second to revenue expectations.
The result—even if communication and collaboration are good on individual teams, it’s rarely going to be great across the whole product.
We’ve written a whole eBook on this, but here are some highlights.
The key questions enterprise teams need to ask themselves:
#1: “Is our digital product an asset, or a liability?”
What do we mean?
It used to be that your digital product was the widget. It’s what the company sold, and everybody else supported it in some way or another. Sales, marketing, customer success, etc. Today, your product is doing a lot more of the heavy lifting that used to be done by these supporting teams and structures.
Think about it.
Since many people experience your company for the first time through the product itself (vs. your marketing outreach), it’s become a primary distribution channel. And since users are more willing than ever to just give something a go and see if they like it, your experience is more impactful than any ads can be. This also makes the product the main way you communicate with your customers. Your digital experience reveals to customers what you stand for as a company, so it better be easy to use and give value quickly.
Lastly, it’s now a critical source for prospects and revenue, with upsells, cross-sells, and referrals happening inside the product as often, or more than externally. Product-led growth (PLG) strategies can bring in thousands of customers who never encounter your sales team.
What all this boils down to is your product is now the epicenter of your business strategy.
The word has changed in a few short years. You’re no longer building features according to feature lists and presumed needs. Now you’re expected to monetize everything you create and connect everything you do to business goals.
To do this, you really need to employ all that data you've been collecting. (You are collecting it, aren’t you?) Data makes it possible to aggregate tens of thousands of customer journeys across multiple platforms, touchpoints, and product areas to reveal what your users care about and want to achieve.
#2: “Why is all our data so hard to use?”
You’ve GOT the data, you're saying. So much data. Drowning in data. But you can’t seem to do much with it. What gives?
Here are the most common problems enterprise businesses encounter:
It’s hard to know where to look to find what you want. You get analysis paralysis deciding what to track.
Multiple platforms make data nearly impossible to collate. Fragmentation, silos, and all the formats, structures, and APIs make working with data difficult.
Nobody has a full view of the end-to-end customer journey. Different teams use different data…and why is it that nobody shares?
Things are rarely organized in a way that’s useful to you. Haphazard collection methods from too many tools make it hard to keep things consistent and trustworthy.
Specialists are required to do the data analysis. If there’s anything you want to ask or need to know, you have to book an appointment and wait…and wait.
So, even with all these resources at your fingertips, making data work for you is often impossible. You’re stuck with surface-level information. You're moving too slowly. And you’re forced to trust gut instinct (aka guessing).
We don’t have to tell you this makes your customers unhappy:
Things are moving too slowly for them, too!
The product is becoming more disjointed
Your “improvements” don't solve their problems or meet their real needs
And you’re not loving life either!
You can’t connect your work to business impact
You can’t defend your results to senior leadership
You can’t anticipate situations…you can only react to them
Data was supposed to alleviate these problems, wasn't it?
#3: “What would it be like if we could pivot like a startup?”
Imagine if you could create products that solve real problems, surprising and delighting users by exceeding their expectations. Then move quickly to build features they love to use.
When you’re too big to interview all your users personally, data is what aggregates their needs for you. It tells you what they are thinking. What they care about. What they don’t. Where they’re getting stuck. How they navigate the twists and turns of your product.
What if this data could show you how to:
Build the features you should have instead of guessing at what’s happening in the things you’ve already built.
Iterate quickly based on real-world usage—in days, not months.
Understand the impact of new features on functionality and user experience.
Provide exceptional support that makes users feel heard and valued.
Connect deeply with your customers, no matter how many there are!
No matter how big your team gets, you could still develop products at startup speed and respond quickly to your users and the larger market.
You’d have it all—the greater funds, resources, and reach of a big company with the speed and maneuverability of a small one. You could transform your enterprise-level business from a lumbering behemoth to an agile speedster that corners on rails.
#4: “How can we take advantage of and get ahead with our data?”
When you have rich customer data, you can put yourself in their shoes to understand their perspectives—and also see the view from 10,000 feet. You’ll know exactly what they think and feel, so you can provide exceptional support that makes users feel heard and valued.
You’d be able to bring teams together and make sure everybody is working on the right stuff. When working at scale, data restores that lost connection with your users.
You need to choose a thorough analytics platform that’s easy to use.
The right one will:
Collect all behavioral data easily and automatically. No matter where it comes from. The same data would be shared and usable by all relevant teams across the org, across all platforms, and in all areas of your product.
Ensure that anyone across the org will get the same data set. So they can trust that whatever question they have, it'll be easy to get an answer from data already there.
Keep the data pool clean and filtered. It’s always organized, governed, and accurate. Never dirty or stale. When it starts looking suspect, your analytics will alert you.
Help you find what you need and point you to what’s important. You can see the unexpected things users do and instantly measure the impact on the business.
Switch between analytics and qualitative tools. Large-scale analytics let you track trends, and then session replays, heatmaps, and voice of the customer (VOC) features show you what users see and feel.
Be easy to use, even for non-technical people. You’d no longer be hostage to the data scientists' availability or have to bug other teams to give you the data you need.
You would never miss anything. Even at scale. No matter how big your company gets, you’d never fear overlooking important clues in your product, site, or app across mobile, desktop, or iOT applications. Or worry that significant activities were going untracked.
You would be able to easily put this data to productive use.
It would be simple to drive the other tools in your stack.
CS could use usage data to see which customers needed attention.
Marketing could use behavioral data to know which customers to target.
Product could build things that matter to your users.
Leadership would have the agility they crave.
Finally, all the many, many people in your org could all swim in the same direction.
You’d eliminate silos, redundant efforts, and wasted time.
You’d create products that solve real problems and surprise and delight users by exceeding their expectations.
And you’d not only do all the things a small company can do—you’d do them at scale.
If that sounds good, read our eBook on how data can energize enterprise product teams to pivot quickly, stay in touch with your customers, and accelerate past the competition. Or contact us to learn more.