Posts Tagged ‘Cloud Application’

It is about the data

by Thomas Frasher on June 16, 2009

blue_dataMany new online offerings are intended to work directly or indirectly with customer provided data.  Acquisitionaggregation and data security are but some of the concerns that online offerings must take into account if they are to have a successful business.

1. Acquisition – this is the first and most important step, without this working reliably no amount of feature development will make the product successful. The ease of acquisition setup and consistency of data acquisition is of paramount importance if the offering provider expects to minimize early abandonment of the application. Here are some scenarios and the likely results for each:

a. Data acquisition is easy to setup – the offering can see rapid adoption, and very high growth rates.

b. Setup is moderately complex, either in detail or in complexity of procedures – the abandonment rate may still remain low as long as value is established early.

c. Setting up the data acquisition is very complex, unexplained terms are used, or has cryptic workflows – the initial abandonment rate will be high.

d. Setup is easy and the data collection is unreliable – the abandonment rate will still be high.

Clearly, from the scenarios above: The data in the offering and what it represents as the ability to take care of present and future concerns is all that is important to the customer. Anything that impedes, challenges or thwarts those concerns is reason enough for abandonment.

2. Aggregation or ETL – This is the second step and MUST be flawless. ETL refers to Extract, Transform and Load; this is the process by which the customer’s data is uploaded into the offering database. Any failures at this point reflect on the application very poorly, and once that happens, customers don’t trust the details that they see in the offering. What’s worse is: the lost trust is difficult if not impossible to win back.

3. Data Security – The customer’s data must ALWAYS be secure and the customer should be able to determine the securing mechanism and whether they are connected to the offering website (security certificate, SSL connection, etc.). Online offerings will only get one chance to fail on this point. As has been seen over the past few years, failure to secure customer data as in the case of Heartland Payment Systems is very damaging to the public identity of the company and depending on the type of data compromised has large legal consequences.

Suffice to say that as online offerings continue to be a substantial area of growth for companies in the coming years, paying due attention (or not) to acquiring, aggregating and securing data will be the thin line between abandonment and success… afterall, it is about the data!