The Role of Analytics in Product Development

The use of analytics in product development is the invaluable, silent team member you shouldn't ignore.

The Role of Analytics in Product Development
Z. Reese Downing
Z. Reese Downing
Director of Marketing

Without analytics, product development would be reduced to a series of images in the dark, and product teams would be clueless as to whether their product met the expectations of end users, blind on what to do next. Analytics is not only crucial for product management, but one of the most important assets of product improvement. Measurements, metrics, and analytical insights enable product teams to make informed decisions about how to improve product functionality and add capabilities. By measuring and analyzing these results, product teams can get ideas for revisions that can be implemented as effectively as necessary, allowing them to fully understand the market, user behavior, and what steps should be taken next in product improvement.

A variety of analysis tools can assist in verifying product concepts, helping developers test, learn, customize, and retest, and will accelerate the product design and launch process. Product analysis informs team members which functions work and which do not. Analytical intuition, based on experience and expertise, plays a valuable role in product development, and should be paired with objective analysis, thus making decision-making objective and reliable. 

Product teams can use analytics to understand why users buy their products, how they use them, how often a piece of content is being accessed, or if a certain system needs improvement. Most importantly, analytics provide important insights into what the customer wants and needs. When used in conjunction with qualitative techniques, quantitative analysis can provide a holistic view of a product and help product management teams make the kind of goals and adjustments that help maintain product value and improve product longevity. Analytics drive innovation, and help existing products remain viable for longer periods of time. 

Over the past decade, data-generated metrics and analytical tools used to extract insights from these data have transformed product development and management. Advances in data management, cloud computing, and the wholehearted adoption of big data by industry organizations have ushered in a new era of product analysis. The data findings generated by product analysis have triggered a revolution in new product development processes and methods. The reality of today's data analysis strategies are that understanding data in product development is more effective, and successful product management is impossible without it.     

It is possible to improve the chances of successful product development by categorizing and analyzing key characteristics of past product success characteristics, such as customer participation, scope of field cooperation, and key indicators that assist in modeling the relationship between product development factors and the eventual product success. The trick is to collect all relevant attributes and data of product development, and then correlate them with product success on the market.    

Product analysis simply reveals the cold, hard truth about the capabilities and functionality of your product and the people who use it. It gives you the most complete picture possible so that you can build the best product possible.

The many use cases of product analysis is reason enough to use it in your next product development project, even if there are deficiencies. The challenge is how much of the data relates to customer demand and usage. Regardless, analytics is crucial when it comes to telling you what is going on in your product development and customer satisfaction.

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