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Plans for Analytics in 2012

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

analytical-coffee.jpgBack in the early days of Lithium, social media analytics was generally not a hot topic (no pun intended). The primary measurements people were interested in were traffic and membership-related: page views, registrations, and so forth. These metrics gave our customers a way to assess the health of their communities and were simply time-based reports. It made sense back then.

 

However, as social media exploded onto the scene and our community platform became robust with interaction features, we realized we needed to devise better ways for our customers to measure ROI. And thus the Community Health Index (CHI) and a host of algorithms were born to help our customers better interpret and manage their communities. In order to create them, we had to scale up and build a data warehouse to combine metrics in new and interesting ways. This was circa 2008.

 

Today, social media has matured to the point where analytics are now the hot topic. Everywhere you go, companies are claiming to offer the best in analytics. However, if you look closely, you'll realize that they're still just simple reports with simple metrics. There is no relational data analysis. No clever insights into how to better manage your social media programs. Even our Lithium analytics fall short here because we currently do not drill down to board-level user metrics and mobile metrics. On top of that, the 2008 data model we created does not easily allow us to add new metrics, sustain an evergrowing amount of community data, and cross-map various metrics to create new reports for our customers. I'm allowed to say this because I am the product owner of our analytics product line. All eggs and tomatoes may now be aimed in my direction.

 

BUT. We're going to start changing all that this year. Last month, we made the difficult but ultimately right call to begin work on a new data architecture that will deliver to our customers the level of granularity, the scalable reliability of a growing data set, and the solid foundation upon which new metrics can be added easily in an everchanging social landscape. We're calling this "V2 Architecture". As this is being built, I am visiting with customers, scouring the Lithosphere for reporting requirements, meeting with our CSMs, and devouring social media analytics books to build a better analytics product for our customers. Together with Dr. Wu and our talented analytics team led by Tim Wong, we will build these requirements into the roadmap once the V2 Architecture is complete. If you as a customer ever wish to talk analytics with me, just send me a message and we can discuss your business needs. I always welcome insight into how our customers analyze and act on their data.

 

What this means though is that working on the bugs and issues coming from the 2008 data model may need to take a backseat until we're done with the V2 Architecture in July 2012. Essentially, in investigating our current architecture, we learned that the vast majority of the issues will be better solved in V2 (e.g., differences between Metrics and CIC, slow load times in the CIC, metrics missing from the product, etc.). My mindset is that if we're going to do something right, we need to do everything right. Now, this doesn't mean you shouldn't report a bug if you come across one. Please do, because there are cases where we can fix them in the current data model, and in each case, I'll be involved to triage them appropriately. 

 

With that being said, I just want to thank you for being a Lithium community owner and for having patience while we invest in our time and energy into the V2 Architecture. Our goal is to get everyone, including customers and our own metric-minded folks, the very best analytics possible to make the right decision, at the right time, and at the right place.

 

Thanks,

Stephen Hsu

Product Manager - Analytics and SMM

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