We run around talking about how important analytics is and yet there are few really compelling examples of how well it is working. Part of this is because the vast majority of implementations are still in process and haven’t gotten to value yet, part is because they were done wrong and value wasn’t found, and part because firms don’t like sharing with competitors how they are kicking those competitor’s butts.
GoPro, however, is the perfect example of how analytics are being used competitively to out-execute much larger companies like Sony.
GoPro has been an amazing company to watch. They occupy the fast-moving and highly-lucrative niche of personal adventure cameras. The firm has taken on small and large companies alike and just chewed them up to increase their dominance over time largely though a mix if inspired marketing with a heavy dose of advocacy and a product roadmap that is solidly based on customer needs that the customers don’t even seem to know they have.
This is because they have implemented analytics right. They basically analyze what their customers are using their cameras for and then they use that data to market this usage to new customers and to define new products always working to make the camera the best at what customers want it to do. This allows them to prioritize features based on real usage data, and to anticipate new opportunities based on how users are successfully exploring new uses for the product.
Unlike a sampling or focus group approach which uses a sample of a population executive perceptions of that population both of which may be far removed from how and where the devices are actually used, GoPro is able to analyze nearly their entire customer base. Effectively their sample is 100 percent making the accuracy of the result unprecedented.
Their analytics implementation is based on Amazon’s Web Services, Cloudera, and BMC’s Control-M automation solution. Amazon has become the great equalizer for small companies wanting to compete with larger firms supplying host of solutions that are easy and inexpensive to implement. Cloudera has become the go-to vendor for analytics effectively partnering with virtually all of the major technology vendors ranging from Intel to EMC and most everyone in between. The sense is if you aren’t using Cloudera you likely aren’t doing analytics at this scale properly.
BMC’s Control-M solution automates the analytics scripting so that one data scientist can do the work of many and this leads both to a far more cost effective solution for a small company like GoPro and a far faster one. This is largely why a small focused firm like GoPro can take bigger companies like Sony to the mat. With these two tools they can afford to implement and—more importantly—staff an effort like this and get the results more timely so their offering is better marketed and better focused on their target customer base than their competitors’ offerings.
Wrapping Up: Cost, Speed, Accuracy
“Faster, better, cheaper pick any two” is the old law that was broken by GoPro’s Analytics implementation. This is because they started in the cloud, used an industry standard analytics solution, and wrapped with a management tool that made if both faster and cheaper to operate than what their competitors likely use (if they use anything). The end result is that GoPro continues to dominate the industry they largely created even after huge vendors entered the segment and attempted to make it their own. This isn’t just a defensive story either as GoPro continues to grow the market for their technology effectively largely by using analytics, as it is best used, to better understand the current and future needs of its customers.
This requires the capabilities of three vendors Amazon for cloud services, Cloudera for Analytics, and BMC to automate the result so that the solution was both manageable and inexpensive enough for a relatively small company like GoPro to use effectively. As customers drive GoPro from cameras to drones knowing just what features and products these customers want should continue be the foundation for their success.
A powerful testimony for analytics, Amazon, Cloudera, and BMC.
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