Software has eaten the world and every company today is a software company. This is because every company today is more and more serving its customers digitally. That service can be a spectrum, such as offering traditional physical products and services through digital channels on one end to offering entirely new digital products on the other end. Regardless of where on the spectrum a company is, it does not change the fact that its primary interface with its customers has become its software.
Sometimes that software is a website or a mobile app, or embedded inside an IOT device like a connected car, television, smart lightbulb, or embedded into industrial equipment. Wherever the software runs, it is written to extend and improve the business model of the company, to differentiate. Software interfaces with the company’s customers in an attempt by the company to serve its customers better than others would, to improve customer experience, to deliver delightful products and services and to keep the customer coming back for more.
This new interface to the customer creates an opportunity for companies to differentiate. Companies have always looked for ways of understanding their customers, and, in the past, employed methods such as membership-based experiences, loyalty cards that offer discounts, coupons and promotions that could be traced back to individual consumers, etc. In the B2B world, salesforces operated as a primary interface also, resulting in a whole sector of tech industry growing to help the salesforce capture valuable information from customer interaction. But now, with software becoming the primary interface, more information than imaginable is available. Thousands of bits of information are generated with every single interaction between a customer and a digital product: usage patterns, shopping habits, location, experience, interests, and much more.
Logs, the artifact of software development, put into code by developers to help debug pre-production code records every action, condition, transaction, … everything. If captured and analyzed in real-time streams, it becomes a form of ongoing, continuous data and information about a company’s business - hence, a continuous intelligence. Many companies leverage machine data today for operational and security analytics but this data offers so much more to a digital business. This data not only helps the company run its software effectively to deliver a good experience securely to its customers, but also holds a wide variety of business insights such as:
- Consumer interests and patterns that can help optimize marketing spend and improve targeting.
- Product usage insights that can help improve existing products or direct product development efforts based on actual user interest and usage.
- User interface and experience insights that, if integrated into agile development cycles, can help deliver fast and iterative improvements to digital properties.
- Market trends that can be leveraged for campaigns and thought leadership.
- Customer experience and satisfaction that can help in customer support and success efforts generate better experience and repeat, loyal customers.
- Product costs and other bottom-line insights that can be used to improve product operations, improve margins, and deliver more aggressive pricing, and much more.
Machine data is becoming the primary source of signal and can be leveraged in real-time. Mining insights from this data is imperative because machine data is business data for digital companies.
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