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The Business Leader’s Guide to Designing Indispensable Analytics Solutions and Data Products

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International Institute for Analytics
Recorded April 5, 2018
Is Poor Design Responsible For Your Underperforming Analytics Solution?

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If you're a product manager or business leader, don't miss my free Brighttalk webinar, presented in conjunction with the International Institute for Analytics. Watch the Recording

I help product managers, analytics practitioners, and executives design indispensable data products and analytics solutions.

Great analytics services need more than data viz & dashboards.

Is your analytics solution, data product, SAAS, IOT, or digital transformation underperforming?

Over 75% of big data, digital transformation, BI, and IOT projects fail to deliver value to the business. 1

Analytics, AI, ML, cloud, IOT, data lakes–the buzz words are endless.

Customers don't care about your tech.

Good design enables technology to serve users and organizations.

Delight customers.

Increase revenue.

Shorten sales cycles.

Improve operations.

My name is Brian O'Neill, and I am a product designer on a mission to rid the world of poor analytics-driven data products and services. I've helped tons of companies design useful, usable, beautiful software including:

TripadvisorDell EMCAccenture
ApptopiaInfinioDispatchKyruus
DataxuFidelityEtrade
Token ReportMeYouHealthElysium DigitalFuture of Music CoalitionkPoint

In early 2015, Apptopia.com–a marketplace for mobile companies to buy and sell their apps–was looking for a second business opportunity to monetize the mounds of mobile app data they had collected: the actual download and revenue data from thousands of real apps across Google Play and iTunes. Apptopia knew that this data could be turned into a useful competitive intelligence analytics product for app publishers, advertisers, SDK companies, and investors that would provide a less expensive and better offering than the leading competitor, App Annie. However, they needed help turning all this data into a useful, usable, well-designed analytics product capable of becoming a successful subscription-based SAAS platform.

Instead of just showing users random tables and charts of time series data and “data visualizations” that don’t actually solve customer problems, Apptopia hired me to help them design a service that would allow app publishers and investors to answer real business questions prevalent in the app publishing world. Using my discovery process and a lot of dry-erase markers, we sketched out a product roadmap, including an MVP, and several follow-on features that would best satisfy the set of user goals, tasks, and business problems that we had uncovered.

And then I designed and helped them launch the MVP reflecting their new pivot to app intelligence.

When the new product launched in June 2015, it had no revenue. However, according to Apptopia CEO Eliran Sapir in a recent TechCrunch article, “within 60 days [of launch], we were at $30,000 MRR. Within 120 days, we were at $70,000 MRR. And today, we’ve quadrupled that…it’s been a wild ride.” This revenue growth also helped Apptopia raise a second seed round of $2.7M led by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary in November 2016.  Today, Apptopia's customers include Facebook, Localytics, Verizon, Google, Pinterest, NBC Universal, Philips, Deloitte, Chartboost, and SendGrid and its data has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN and Barrons.

I wasn’t sure what to expect not having worked with a product designer before, but when Brian came on board, he helped us significantly accelerate our design efforts and meet our major enterprise clients’ expectations and deadlines. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of his work, and we've received good responses from our customers. I can’t recommend him enough.

Alex BeletskyAlex Beletsky
COO, Dispatch.me

I wondered at first whether Brian’s relative lack of experience in the patent/IP space would work with our team in the creation of a product like Legion, especially given the conservative, security-oriented corporate culture of Elysium. By the end, I realized just how much we needed Brian's approach, influence, and outside presence/energy to design a successful patent analysis tool. Brian made us think through the entire Legion product experience, and through this process, we learned to improve our own design skills. Today, our litigation consultants continue to use Legion regularly with clients. It has probably reduced collaboration overhead by 50% (which our clients love!) and allows consultants and clients to come together, using Legion’s data and analytics, to build shared understandings of patented inventions quickly.

Paul MattalPaul Mattal
Managing Director, Elysium

When you’re bringing on a consultant, there is always a level of uncertainty about results, and there’s nothing worse than ending up with solutions that aren’t feasible, workable, or usable at the end of the process. While Brian’s processes differed from what I was used to, and I didn’t always want to get into the level of requirements detail that he felt was necessary, the bottom line is that Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. Given how many different responsibilities I am juggling at any given time, it was extremely comforting to know that my goals for the [new Apptopia analytics] product would always be met, and that my bottom line was so high. I’ve recommended Brian to my peers because the worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.

Jonathan KayJonathan Kay
COO, Apptopia

Brian’s questioning of our business and user objectives for a new video analytics SAAS–prior to any discussion of design solutions–was a bit unusual for me. In fact, I’ve rarely met anyone with a process like his. That said, by the time we started negotiating with Brian, we had already decided to work with him. One of the key capabilities Brian brought to the table was the ability to help us distinguish between "vanity" analytics and "actionable” analytics, so that our service’s data was always presented in a way to help users actually make better business decisions. In the end, the prospects to whom we showed Brian’s designs were wowed by the extremely clean and elegant presentation of our video analytics, and we got excellent feedback that this design was much better than the existing, highly established players in this space. At that point, we knew our main business challenge would be sales access, and not product quality. If I needed to develop a design strategy for another analytics product or service in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Brian first.

Rohit SharmaRohit Sharma
Managing Director, North America
kPoint Technologies

Until Brian came in to help us, nobody could see a strategic direction, or if they did they lacked the ability to articulate it in an actionable way. This discovery and planning absolutely needed to happen and it's been great. It's nice to have a plan we can get behind and finally feel like we're on the same train as the leadership team. Execution will be more satisfying because we're going to have a better sense of what stakeholders need to see and how that relates to what we get to work on.

Tara HalwesTara Halwes
Principal UX Designer, DELL

Initially, the FMC had no prior exposure to Brian’s design work, but in the end, the design strategy that he formulated with us enabled us to design a stunning data portal that exceeded our expectations. Timely delivery and transparent communication also helped us to manage expectations and plan well. Brian really felt like a thought partner for what we were trying to do, and I recommend his design services without reservation.

Jean Cook, Future of Music CoalitionJean Cook
Board Member, Future of Music Coalition
Project Director, Artist Revenue Streams




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