The J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in Boston last week was three days of geeking out in a sea of business suits. It seemed that everywhere you turned, the topic somehow turned to software and analytics.
New Relic was among the companies invited to present to investors about corporate progress and forecasts of public companies in the tech industry, but we were hardly the only ones obsessed with Software Analytics. In their keynotes, for example, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and GoPro CEO Nick Woodman both talked about using apps and analytics to understand their customers better.
Yahoo’s analytics power multiple areas of its business
Yahoo’s keynote focused on mobile strategy. Mayer said the innovations planned for Yahoo’s mobile search engine business were based upon what the team learned from analytics. They found that people rarely just passively read or explore when using mobile search. Instead, she said, they’re actively “doing things.” If someone is searching for restaurants, for example, chances are they want to check out the menu and then make a reservation. That led Yahoo to work on modifying its algorithms to deliver results that better reflect what their users actually want to accomplish.
This innovation requires far more “intensive” algorithms than before, Mayer said, mainly because it must generate search results that are local to the user. As one of the world’s largest mobile advertising platforms, Yahoo is leveraging its insight of customer behavior to its advertising business, where businesses bid to get the top ad spots. I found it interesting how a little analytical insight into actual customer behavior and usage can translate into multiple areas of a business.
GoPro goes wild with software and chimps
Things got a little wilder when GoPro took the stage—opening with a video of chimpanzees in a tree batting down a GoPro camera attached to a drone—then carefully picking through the wreckage, complete with hilarious close ups. This is the kind of footage that helped GoPro go viral, expanding from a cult favorite to broad adoption as a public company.
Now, Woodman said, GoPro plans to complement its cameras with software designed to increase engagement. The new content-sharing app will “auto-magically” upload footage to a mobile device or a GoPro cloud—where users can easily tag, edit, and share their videos. Still in development, the app will make a big difference in how the company’s cameras are viewed and accepted, Woodman predicted. The company expects the app to open new opportunities for and help attract more customers to the brand, he said.
Apps and analytics weren’t the only topics at the event, of course. But for this investor-oriented crowd, the business impact—and the complexity—of deeply understanding digital customers across the multiple platforms they use was almost inescapable.