Lessons from a life of startups, coding, countryside, and kids
There’s a trend, nay a bubble (bubbles are all the rage these days), in all sorts of dashboards and metrics services. Librato, StatsMix, Klipfolio, and Ducksboard are just a few that I’ve looked at over the last few days They’re all really really pretty, achingly beautiful… but what are they telling us? They can show infinitesimally detailed charts, headline numbers and general trends all collected in real-time from hundreds of metrics. That’s great if you’re in operations (detailed data is important for recognising & diagnosing problems) but this isn’t something that the business owner should ever see.
This brief sojourn into metrics-land was prompted by the thought: if I could create a weekly report for clients, what would they care about? I’m responsible for developing and running the application so that’s the data which I have available (rather than the social or conversion funnel data). I might need to know about CPU & network performance but they don’t.
These aren’t standardised metrics; these are metrics which have to be custom developed for each specific application. In the case of a HR application, what percentage of a company’s employees have a current performance plan? How long are these plans? — because companies using annual plans will derive less value than those using quarterly plans. Is this company tracking goal progress using milestones or metrics? — because tracking goals increases the chance that they will be completed.
This is not metrics. This is not numbers.
This is not “Big Data”.
This is about customer intelligence.
This is about understanding your customers so that you can help them succeed better with your service.
To be fair, there are some services making in-roads to this space (Intercom and Customer.io) but they are still user- not customer-focused. To various degrees, they also rely on high-level metrics and focus on automated messaging rather than reporting.
Perhaps I need to build something…