Too much CRAP – Big Data is here to stay

Too much CRAP - Big Data is here to stay

All the data.
All the time.

That pretty much sums up The Age of Big Data in which we now find ourselves. Organizations that learn how to make use of the data will prosper.
There are datastreams being generated by all the ways we are connected to the internet.

This data is being collected and stored, although there is too much of it to organize, so it's CRAP (create, replicate, append, process) as Charles Fan calls it; "generated by machines, coming in large quantities at high velocity."

The solution? Easy. Make the data accessible in a way that gives it structure. That's where we come in.
 

So the great challenge is to use this data. If the data is not used then, there is little point in storing it, especially at cost.

Q: What should (big) data be used for?
A: For making decisions.

In other words, why bother to save all that data, unless to put it to good use, and that means helping organizations make decisions. Those decisions can be based directly on human behavior, for example to decide what content to display to a viewer, based on Social Media preferences, or based on machine signals.

Automated signals, such as all the purchases made by supermarket customers with bonus cards, which can help managers decide which products to stock & display, create datasets too large for humans to manage.

That's where solutions such as Opentracker come in. You don't need a big engineering team to get value out of the data if you use a suitable data collection and reporting system.

In our case, we will:

  • provide the engineering
  • host the data
  • provide a simple interface
  • allow the end-user to send signals (write)
  • and ask the data questions (read)

Click here for an article about understanding Big Data.

Because there are new and massive databases coming into existence, new technologies are needed in order to manage the data. The point of efficient data management is that it takes processing power to make calculations. Therefore, the new & efficient way which has evolved is to leave the data as it is; CRAP, and sort it out only on a need-to-know-basis.

That's where Opentracker comes in. What we have built is a distributed-data technology that allows users to slice & dice at will.

In other words, you send the data, it's stored, but not structured. The only thing that is structured is the tool (an API: application program interface) that allows you to ask the data questions.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

 

PS- And why is Big Data not going away? Because with ever-increasing amounts of data, the likelihood of the data being organized in any meaningful way becomes increaingly smaller.

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Star Wars and the Art of Business – Lessons from The Force Awakens

Star Wars and the Art of Business - Lessons from The Force Awakens

Star Wars and the Art of Life; Lessons from The Force Awakens. Devise good strategies. Measure. Improve and repeat what works.

I went to see Star Wars 7 last week. Afterwards, I had the same “Yeah, that was a pretty good movie,” reaction as I had read on the front page of the nytimes.com

In my post-game analysis, I realised the what, why, & how J.J. Abrams accomplished this.

In one sentence; they did this by drawing on successful elements of the original films, which they improved and repeated, while throwing out the rest.  In the same way, all of us who work on the internet can draw on basic knowledge and things-that-work from previous success. Identify a winning formula, refine on its success, discard strategies that don’t work. Repeat.

What does this mean in terms of Website Management?
Identify potential traffic sources, make an effort to contact them, refine your message, measure audience response, keep what works, throw out the rest. Bring back your best characters (Best Practices).

***SPOILER ALERT***

As far as I can tell, what the latest Star Wars movie does is; take 5 or more of the original elements (Luke, Leia, Han Solo, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, the Death Star) and replace them (the replacements are: Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren, BB-8, Starkiller Base). First, the new elements are inserted into the identical plot from the original movie. The new elements are then joined by the original elements (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Millenium Falcon, R2-D2, C-3PO) and together they proceed through the new story.

A few examples of successful elements from previous Star Wars films found in The Force Awakens;
- an undercurrent of slightly goofy humor - the perfect balance of laughing at oneself
- an irreverent, likeable, Han Solo-type character with the same mannerisms and gags, who also leaves the heroine behind at one point
- a hero toiling alone with robot salvage on a small desert planet, destined for greatness
- an important data file hidden from the bad guys on a cute and likeable droid in the opening sequence while being shot at by stormtroopers
- an insurmountable obstacle defiantly overcome under identical conditions as in previous films
- an even bigger death star
- an identical cantina scene, complete with live band
- light-sabre duels in cavernous high-tech space stations
- C-3PO and R2-D2 making fun of each other
- the Rebels have an ability overcome obstacles of ludicrous (technical) complexity after a 5 minute morning stand-up
- and one incremental improvement - the hero is a pretty girl (at the moment there is a lot of call in the media for female action figure heroes)

 

Followig up, we will publish a list of the comparisons which can be drawn between Star Wars The Force Awakens and Websites and Business Management. In other words, we will publish a list of successful Tips and best Practices which you should repeat.

In Conclusion, the new film is a fun, easy-to-watch shoot-‘em-up flick in which no one really gets hurt, with an important message: things (life) doesn’t have to be complicated to be fun.  Of course, this is also the art of making things which are hard look easy. I may have missed some of the details as I had my young son sitting my my lap squeezing my hands out of sheer unadulterated joy most of the time, but I think I caught most of the movie.

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Company Identification – Dramatic Improvement – 44%

Company Identification - Dramatic Improvement - 44%

We are EXTREMELY pleased to announce a Forty-Four 44% percent improvement in our company identification capability.

Last week, we were able to identify just over 900 companies visiting opentracker.net. This week, we were able to identify over 1300 companies, over the same period of time.

For years, we've been working to develop and improve our report Location >> Company which shows you which companies are visiting your website. This is an incredibly valuable tool, in terms of lead generation. This report allows you to turn anonymous visitors into potential clients.

 

 

 

 

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Startup Accelerator Diary #1

startup-accelerator-diary-1

The Rockstart Accelerator

In Amsterdam is one of several world-class technology accelerators in The Netherlands. We entered ourselves into the competition earlier a few months ago, and came in the top percentile out of more than 500 companies, securing a place in the 100-day program.

LeadBoxer is a spin off from the Rockstart program, which utilizes the Lean framework methodology.
LeadBoxer is utilizing big data technology in order to make anonymous website traffic less anonymous, and function as an essential pre-sales tool. Currently being designed, tested & validated for the B2B market, the product works to create value from under-utilised traffic engagement.

If you are interested in being an early adopter for LeadBoxer, click here & sign-up for advance notification.

We jumped at the opportunity to participate because we're eager to learn from the vast experience of the mentor community. As an additional bonus we are very energized by the cohort of our fellow start-ups from around the world (Portugal, Italy, Colombia, Argentinia, Netherlands, UK). We will list those startups in a blog post to follow.

The program is divided into three parts;

  1. orientation and exposure to methodologies, mentors, and validation interviews
  2. construction and deployment (launch) of MVP - minimum viable product
  3. scripting and rehearsal, build up to pitch to entrepeneurial and investor community

We've finished the first part and are now entering Phase 2.

So far, we can report that the opportuity to participate in the program has been extremely rewarding. We've been exposed to numerous entrepeneurial, technical, business, and sales gurus.

The fifteen hour days can be tiring 😉 but they remind us of launching Opentracker, back in 2003, and how rewarding that felt.

Stay tuned for more.

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Postal code reporting improved

Postal code reporting improved

We've upgraded postal code databases for several EU countries and added Canada.

The list of fully implemented postal code data now includes the following countries:

  • US
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Finland
  • The Netherlands
  • UK

In this example, you can see data from USA, UK, Canada, France, Netherlands, and Germany, specifically visitors from these cities; Seattle, London, Toronto, Amsterdam, Paris, Montreal, Munich, and Berlin.

Other databases can be engineered and implemented upon request.

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Visitor profiles enhanced with LinkedIn company info

Visitor profiles enhanced with LinkedIn company info

Profile of visitor, enriched with linkedin data

When information is detected, we are able to enhance visitor profiles in order to bring you a more complete picture of who is visiting your website.Specifically, we are able to provide key details about the companies from which you are receiving traffic.

Some interesting metrics that we can provide include:

  1. website url
  2. number of employees
  3. industry category of the company

In this example you can see that we are presenting information about a visitor from UPS - United Parcel Service.

You can access this information and have it enrich your visitor profile data by enabling the LinkedIn option in your account when you are logged in.

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Trendspotting

Trendspotting 2014

How will your business respond
to the increase in available digital data?

With increasing data available, the winners will be those who understand the possibilities. Businesses are seeing that, increasingly, there is revenue to be earned through the intelligent use of data.

Trendwatching. We live in a time of great technical change. Big things are happening, things which can have enormous impact on products, development, and revenue models.

The question to ask is: what are important trends in business sectors that will drastically, disruptively, affect bottom lines?

Trends are important, as are people who have the ability to observe and understand trends. What trends will affect your business or sector?
What are we talking about? Here are a few big picture examples:

  1. The energy industry: people putting energy into the grid, as opposed to taking it off. This is increasing. Energy companies need to plan for people creating their own energy. In Germany more than 50% of electricity is currently produced by alternative power sources.
  2. Eastman-Kodak: creation of digital film led, ultimately, to their bankruptcy and reorganization.
  3. Nokia: trend of personal handheld computers (devices, iphones) led to their loss of leading market position.
  4. Banks: their position challenged by Bitcoin and crowdsourcing – will we still need banks? With the rise of crowdfunding, banks may need to rethink their position.

Q: What is the take home message? 
A: Companies ignore upcoming trends at their own peril. Plan to succeed.

 

2014: year of the Chief Digital Officer

In 2014 an increasing number of businesses are expected to appoint CDOs - Digital content chiefs; in short, somebody responsible for all the data.

Unforeseen trends and opportunities for profit (or loss) are the reason why there is such a high demand for people who can analyse data. Human resource managers are also seeing the shift; a need for people who can analyse data, and a new culture is emerging, whereby in-house knowledge is needed. Is your company making adequate use of the available data?

Opentracker. Don’t get left behind.

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Mobile Version (Web App) Released

Mobile Version (Web App) Released

Mobile optimized edition of Opentracker now available.

We are pleased to announce that a mobile version of our reporting dashboard has been released and is now supported on mobile devices.

 

We have started by releasing the dashboard as the first report optimized for mobile devices. We are currently planning the next feature to enable.

What features should we add next? Please write and tell us what functionality you would like to have on your mobile.

In other words, what would be the best piece of information to access when you are on-the-go, at a conference, or any remote location. Need to check your Online & Recent Visits report when you are standing in line at the post office? The web doesn't sleep, why should you?

 

 

 

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Do you pass the test?

Do you pass the test?

What does good custom reporting look like?

Take the Opentracker Custom Reporting Pop Quiz and find out - does your analytics system pass the test?

Analytics testQuestion:
What do good analytics and custom reporting look like in practice?

  • Can you get the data you need, when you need it?
  • Can you get the reports you need, when you need them?

Above all, are the reports compact and relevant, or do they give you so much data that you experience 'information overload'?

Answer these questions yourself, with the Opentracker Reporting Challenge:

Can you generate a report that shows you;

  1. which of your visitors, by login name, email address, or anonymously;
  2. signed in,
  3. from which country, state or region, and
  4. which visitors or users committed any specified action
  5. for any given date range?

Are you able to generate a list of your users or visitors, ranked by activity, and search this list?

Can you EASILY generate a report showing you the most popular events or actions in your site by country, and segment it by browser, operating system, platform, or device in a couple of clicks?

If you need a "new" metric, can you arrange for this to happen in a day or two?

The answer to all these questions should be YES.
It will be if you are using Opentracker.

That is what Custom Reporting really means.

But wait, there's more! - Custom variables

Can you insert custom variables, like an industry sector or product category?
This is what (big) data is all about. These are some of the things that we can do for you.

And specifically, these things can be accomplished in several different ways.
For example:

  1. You can do it yourself, by using the javascript implementaion docs to add the events/ properties/ variables, and using our the Analytics API (Application Programming Interface)to create the reports, OR
  2. You can get us to do it for you.
    What does that mean? That means that we will build a button for you - this button will be placed in your reporting system and deliver the report(s) that you need.
    Contact us if you are interested in custom-built reports.

Opentracker - don't get left behind.

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Why is Opentracker so darn good?

Why is Opentracker so darn good?

New features, improvements
and state-of-the-art technology

Opentracker good

If we were still writing press releases, we'd be putting them out a few times a week.

Q: Why is Opentracker moving so fast and releasing new features every two weeks at the moment?
A: Highlights: we rebuilt our core technologies, implemented an API and changed our development methodology. We moved from MySQL to Cassandra, improved search features, and implemented Agile throughout our organization.

Q: What does this actually mean?
A: This makes feature development much easier for us and our customers. Opentracker is better at change than ever; fast, state-of-the-art, flexible, responsive, and industry-standard (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc).

Q: What does this mean in practice?
A: We have a greatly increased flexibility, through the means of a web analytics api;
which we use ourselves, for example to provide:

  1. An OT Dashboard
    Click for illustration and description of traffic engagement dashboard.
  2. Universal search: a real-time "google search" through all your traffic/ visitor data, a search bar located on the top of the Recent & Online visits report page.
    Read about and see visuals of "google search" through all your visitor traffic data.
  3. The ability to search for any activity on any page, in the form of a search bar at the top of Most Popular Pages report.
    Read about universal search through top pages feature.
  4. The ability to add any event to your reports (a payment, a download, a scroll down, sign-up, etc) and easily search for any of these events.
    Read about searching for any visit activity.
    Read a feature description about how to search for any visit event.
  5. User-tagging: you can add names, email addresses, login IDs, etc, to the visitor profiles, using manual or automated functions.
    Read about user-tagging: a how-to and see a video demonstration.
    Read a description of our user-tagging feature.
    Read technical documentation about user-tagging.
  6. CRM advantage: user-tagging can be used to create CRM records in your data (client name, company name, size, client login, user-name, visit history, etc).
    Read about using Opentracker as a CRM system here.
    Read a feature description about user-tagging for CRM.
  7. Add Facebook user-data to visitor profiles using the api.

Conclusion: there is a lot of positive change happening at the moment.

The API is also available for you to use, you have complete access to all its extensive functionality.

Extensive (technical) documentation is located in our Docs overview
If you can tell us anything about your needs, we will provide feedback.

Opentracker: don't get left behind.

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