Data analytics as a continuous improvement cycle

| June 24, 2016

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Whether we are talking about business travel, tax, or another discipline, the challenges and requirements for leveraging analytics are the same. Approaching the application of data analytics as a continuous improvement cycle may help in realizing its power, immediately and over time.

Spotlight

Uptake

Uptake, a predictive analytics company, empowers global companies to optimize performance and reduce failure of assets. Leveraging unique partnerships, Uptake integrates cross-industry expertise, data science, and workflow connectivity to build high-value solutions based on massive data sets. The result is a platform that identifies problems before they happen and delivers refined insights to drive unparalleled efficiency and productivity…

OTHER ARTICLES

How big data can help the homeless

Article | March 12, 2020

Homeless policy needs to join the big data revolution. A data tsunami is transforming our world. Ninety percent of existing data was created in the last two years, and Silicon Valley is leveraging it with powerful analytics to create self-driving cars and to revolutionize business decision-making in ways that drive innovation and efficiency.Unfortunately, this revolution has yet to help the homeless. It is not due to a lack of data. Sacramento alone maintains data on half a million service interactions with more than 65,000 homeless individuals. California is considering integrating the data from its 44 continuums of care to create a richer pool of data. Additionally, researchers are uncovering troves of relevant information in educational and social service databases.These data, however, are only useful if they are aggressively mined for insights, looking for problems to solve and successful practices to replicate. At that juncture California falls short.

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THEORY AND STRATEGIES

Rethinking and Recontextualizing Context(s) in Natural Language Processing

Article | June 10, 2021

We discursive creatures are construed within a meaningful, bounded communicative environment, namely context(s) and not in a vacuum. Context(s) co-occur in different scenarios, that is, in mundane talk as well as in academic discourse where the goal of natural language communication is mutual intelligibility, hence the negotiation of meaning. Discursive research focuses on the context-sensitive use of the linguistic code and its social practice in particular settings, such as medical talk, courtroom interactions, financial/economic and political discourse which may restrict its validity when ascribing to a theoretical framework and its propositions regarding its application. This is also reflected in the case of artificial intelligence approaches to context(s) such as the development of context-sensitive parsers, context-sensitive translation machines and context-sensitive information systems where the validity of an argument and its propositions is at stake. Context is at the heart of pragmatics or even better said context is the anchor of any pragmatic theory: sociopragmatics, discourse analysis and ethnomethodological conversation analysis. Academic disciplines, such as linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, psychology and literary theory have also studied various aspects of the context phenomena. Yet, the concept of context has remained fuzzy or is generally undefined. It seems that the denotation of the word [context] has become murkier as its uses have been extended in many directions. Context or/ and contexts? Now in order to be “felicitous” integrated into the pragmatic construct, the definition of context needs some delimitations. Depending on the frame of research, context is delimitated to the global surroundings of the phenomenon to be investigated, for instance if its surrounding is of extra-linguistic nature it is called the socio-cultural context, if it comprises features of a speech situation, it is called the linguistic context and if it refers to the cognitive material, that is a mental representation, it is called the cognitive context. Context is a transcendental notion which plays a key role in interpretation. Language is no longer considered as decontextualized sentences. Instead language is seen as embedded in larger activities, through which they become meaningful. In a dynamic outlook on communication, the acts of speaking (which generates a form discourse, for instance, conversational discourse, lecture or speech) and interpreting build contexts and at the same time constrain the building of such contexts. In Heritage’s terminology, “the production of talk is doubly contextual” (Heritage 1984: 242). An utterance relies upon the existing context for its production and interpretation, and it is, in its own right, an event that shapes a new context for the action that will follow. A linguistic context can be decontextualized at a local level, and it can be recontextualized at a global level. There is intra-discursive recontextualization anchored to local decontextualization, and there is interdiscursive recontextualization anchored to global recontextualization. “A given context not only 'legislates' the interpretation of indexical elements; indexical elements can also mold the background of the context” (Ochs, 1990). In the case of recontextualization, in a particular scenario, it is valid to ask what do you mean or how do you mean. Making a reference to context and a reference to meaning helps to clarify when there is a controversy about the communicative status and at the same time provides a frame for the recontextualization. A linguistic context is intrinsically linked to a social context and a subcategory of the latter, the socio-cultural context. The social context can be considered as unmarked, hence a default context, whereas a socio-cultural context can be conceived as a marked type of context in which specific variables are interpreted in a particular mode. Culture provides us, the participants, with a filter mechanism which allows us to interpret a social context in accordance with particular socio-cultural context constraints and requirements. Besides, socially constitutive qualities of context are unavoidable since each interaction updates the existing context and prepares new ground for subsequent interaction. Now, how these aforementioned conceptualizations and views are reflected in NLP? Most of the research work has focused in the linguistic context, that is, in the word level surroundings and the lexical meaning. An approach to producing sense embeddings for the lexical meanings within a lexical knowledge base which lie in a space that is comparable to that of contextualized word vectors. Contextualized word embeddings have been used effectively across several tasks in Natural Language Processing, as they have proved to carry useful semantic information. The task of associating a word in context with the most suitable meaning from a predefined sense inventory is better known as Word Sense Disambiguation (Navigli, 2009). Linguistically speaking, “context encompasses the total linguistic and non-linguistic background of a text” (Crystal, 1991). Notice that the nature of context(s) is clearly crucial when reconstructing the meaning of a text. Therefore, “meaning-in-context should be regarded as a probabilistic weighting, of the list of potential meanings available to the user of the language.” The so-called disambiguating role of context should be taken with a pinch of salt. The main reason for language models such as BERT (Devlin et al., 2019), RoBERTA (Liu et al., 2019) and SBERT (Reimers, 2019) proved to be beneficial in most NLP task is that contextualized embeddings of words encode the semantics defined by their input context. In the same vein, a novel method for contextualized sense representations has recently been employed: SensEmBERT (Scarlini et al., 2020) which computes sense representations that can be applied directly to disambiguation. Still, there is a long way to go regarding context(s) research. The linguistic context is just one of the necessary conditions for sentence embeddedness in “a” context. For interpretation to take place, well-formed sentences and well-formed constructions, that is, linguistic strings which must be grammatical but may be constrained by cognitive sentence-processability and pragmatic relevance, particular linguistic-context and social-context configurations, which make their production and interpretation meaningful, will be needed.

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GOVERNMENTS LEVERAGING BIG DATA INNOVATIONS TO TACKLE CORONAVIRUS

Article | April 2, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus has taken many countries under its hood. Most of them are suffering from economic loss and a higher mortality rate. Amid this, governments are in a great dilemma how to handle the circumstances around the falling economy and upsurging coronavirus infections. In order to get better hold onto situations across their countries, they are moving towards innovative technology adoption. Out of all the new-age technologies, big data and data analytics can serve with a great opportunity, where governments across various nations can understand the outbreak analytics.

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6 Best SaaS Marketing Metrics for Business Growth

Article | July 22, 2021

The software-as-a-service industry is rapidly growing with an estimate to reach $219.5 billion by 2027. SaaS marketing strategies is highly different from other industries; thus, tracking the right metrics for marketing is necessary. SaaS kpis or metrics measure an enterprise’s performance, growth, and momentum. These saas marketing metrics are have been designed to evaluate the health of a business by tracking sales, marketing, and customer success. Direct access to data will help you develop your business and show whether there is any room for development. SaaS KPIs: What Are They and Why Do They Matter? Marketing metrics for SaaS indicate growth in different ways. SaaS KPIs, just like regular KPIs, helps business to evaluate their business models and strategies. These key metrics for SaaS companies give a deep insight into which sectors perform well and require reassessment. To optimize any company’s exposure, SaaS metrics for marketing are highly essential. They measure the performance of sales, marketing, and customer retention. SaaS companies believe in the entire life cycle of the customer, while traditional web-based companies focus on immediate sales. The overall goal of SaaS companies is to build long-lasting customer relationships since most revenue is generated through their recurring payments. SaaS marketing technology are SaaS marketers’ greatest asset if they take the time and effort to understand and implement them. There are essential and unimportant metrics. Knowing which metrics to pay attention to is a challenge. Once you get these metrics right, they will help you to detect your company’s strengths and weaknesses and help you understand whether they are working or not. There are more than fifteen metrics one can track but make you lose sight of what matters. In this article, we have identified the critical metrics every SaaS should track: Unique Visitors This metric measures the number of visitors your website or page sees in a specific time period. If someone visits your website four to five times in that given time period, it will be counted as one unique visitor. Recording this metric is crucial as it shows you what type of visitors your site receives and from what channels they arrive. When the number of unique visitors is high, it indicates to the SaaS marketers that their content resonates with the target customers. It is vital to note, however, which channels these unique visitors reach your website. These channels can be: Organic traffic Social media Paid ads SaaS marketers should, at this point, identify which channels are working and double down on those. Once you know these channels, you can allocate budgets and optimize these channels for better performance. Google Analytics is the best free tool to track unique visitors. The tool enables you to refine by dates and compare time periods and generate a report. Leads Leads is a broad term that can be broken down into two sub-categories: Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). Defining SQL and MQL is important as they can be different for every business. So, let us break down the definitions for the two: MQL MQLs are those leads that have moved past the visitor phase in the customer lifecycle. They have taken steps to move ahead and become qualified to become potential customers. They have engaged with your website multiple times. For example, they have visited your website to check out prices, case studies or have downloaded your whitepapers more than two times. SQL SQLs actively engage with your site and are more qualified than MQLs. This lead is what you have deemed as the ideal sales candidate. They are way past the initial search stage, evaluating vendors, and are ready for a direct sales pitch. The most crucial distinction between the two is that your sales team has deemed them sales-worthy. After distinguishing between the two leads, you need to take the next appropriate steps. The best way to measure these leads is through closed-loop automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot. These automation tools will help you set up the criteria that automatically set up an individual as lead based on your website's SQL and MQL actions. Next, track the website traffic to ensure these unique visitors turn into potential leads. Churn The churn rate, in short, refers to the number of customers lost in a given time frame. It is the number of revenue SaaS customers who cancel their recurring revenue services. Since SaaS is a subscription-based service, losing customers directly correlates to losing money. The churn rate also indicates that your customers aren’t getting what they want from your service. Like most of your saas KPIs, you will be reporting on the churn rate every month. To calculate the churn rate, take the total number of customers you lost in the month you’re reporting on. Next, divide that by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the reporting month. Then, multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage. A churn is natural for any business. However, a high churn rate is an indicator that your business is in trouble. Therefore, it is an essential metric to track for your SaaS company. Customer Lifetime Value Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures how valuable a customer is to your business. It is the average amount of money your customers pay during their involvement with your SaaS company. You measure not only their value based on purchases but also the overall relationship. Keeping an existing client is more important than acquiring a new one which makes this metric important. Measuring CLV is a bit complicated than measuring other metrics. First, calculate the average customer lifetime by taking the number one divided by the customer churn rate. As an example, let’s say your monthly churn rate is 1%. Your average customer lifetime would be 1/0.01 = 100 months. Then take the average customer lifetime and multiply it by the average revenue per account (ARPA) over a given time period. If your company, for example, brought in $100,000 in revenue last month off of 100 customers, that would be $1,000 in revenue per account. Finally, this brings us to CLV. You’ll now need to multiply customer lifetime (100 months) by your ARPA ($1,000). That brings us to 100 x $1,000, or $100,000 CLV. CLV is crucial as it indicates whether or not there is a proper strategy in place for business growth. It also shows investors the value of your company. Customer Acquisition Cost Customer acquisition cost (CAC) tells you how much you should spend on acquiring a new customer. The two main factors that determine the CAC are: Lead generation costs Cost of converting that lead into a client The CAC predicts the resources needed to acquire new customers. It is vital to understand this metric if you want to grow your customer base and make a profit. To calculate your CAC for any given period, divide your marketing and sales spend over that time period by the number of customers gained during the same time. It might cost more to acquire a new customer, but what if that customer ends up spending more than most? That’s where the CLV to CAC ratio comes into play. CLV: CAC Ratio CLV: CAC ratio go hand in hand. Comparing the two will help you understand the impact of your business. The CLV: CAC ratio shows the lifetime value of your customers and the amount you spend to gain new ones in a single metric. The ultimate goal of your company should be to have a high CLV: CAC ratio. According to SaaS analytics, a healthy business should have a CLV three times greater than its CAC. Just divide your calculated CLV by CAC to get the ratio. Some top-performing companies even have a ratio of 5:1. SaaS companies use this number to measure the health of marketing programs to invest in campaigns that work well or divert the resources to those campaigns that work well. Conclusion Always remember to set healthy marketing KPIs. Reporting on these numbers is never enough. Ensure that everything you do in marketing ties up to all the goals you have set for your company. Goal-driven SaaS marketing strategies always pay off and empower you and your company to be successful. Frequently Asked Questions What are the 5 most important metrics for SaaS companies? The five most important metrics for SaaS companies are Unique Visitors, Churn, Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Lead to Customer Conversion Rate. Why should we measure SaaS marketing metrics? Measuring marketing metrics are critically important because they help brands determine whether campaigns are successful, and provide insights to adjust future campaigns accordingly. They help marketers understand how their campaigns are driving towards their business goals, and inform decisions for optimizing their campaigns and marketing channels. How to measure the success of your SaaS marketing? The success of SaaS marketing can be measured by identifying the metrics that help them succeed. 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Spotlight

Uptake

Uptake, a predictive analytics company, empowers global companies to optimize performance and reduce failure of assets. Leveraging unique partnerships, Uptake integrates cross-industry expertise, data science, and workflow connectivity to build high-value solutions based on massive data sets. The result is a platform that identifies problems before they happen and delivers refined insights to drive unparalleled efficiency and productivity…

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