This is part of a series of posts where we interview experts and influencers in the data technology space.
We sat down with Heine Krog Iversen, CEO and Founder of TimeXtender, an automated data warehouse solution, to understand how access to internal and external data is helping marketing, sales, and other business professionals make decisions every day.
How did you end up at your current role at a data technology company?
I founded TimeXtender in 2006. The question I pursued was how to automate the classic data warehouse, because I found that what most customers wanted was the same. Ten years back, you didn’t have a lot of external or social data.
But in the last ten years, we now have big data, self-service data discovery, and so many new sources that can add value, and what we try to solve at TimeXtender is that anyone in the company has access to whatever data they need, when they need it, as well as ensuring control of data quality and security.
How do you see the way that businesses use data to make decisions evolving over the next few years?
Regulation, like GDPR, changes the way we get and use data. If you need to be able to document data thoroughly, there’s a delay in how fast we can access that data. If you don’t focus on automation, you will lose the ability to use data.
Every company understands the value of data. But a lot of companies are still on the early part of that journey: I understand the value, but what data do I need? They want to be able to combine internal data with external data from Google Analytics and Twitter – more for the statistical data, such as how many followers, how many visitors, etc. Basically, who is my customer and where is my customer coming from?
Getting to the data is complicated for business users because there are a lot of different cloud solutions that the data lives in, as well as APIs that are hard to use. Also, many companies – especially smaller ones – simply don’t have in-house expertise around data modeling and designing data warehouses. That’s where we’ll see the biggest change going forward, when we see more people with data skills being employed by the business.
How are you using using analytics to make decisions – what sorts of data do you look at on a weekly basis?
We have internal KPIs, the classic SaaS KPIs to make sure we’re efficient.
We add external data, mostly from Google Analytics, as well as Twitter and Facebook, into our internal data platform. It’s not enough to look at my internal data because that’s basically history. For me it’s also important to understand the development of our branding, online and on social media. Data can tell us whether people are actually reading our blog and recognizing our brand, to tell us that what we’re doing right now is moving us in the direction that we should.
More companies should pay attention to this proactive side of the data, because there’s a delay between a marketing activity and the end result, to see a positive change in the historical numbers.
What is the single most important business trend that will affect those of us who market tech B2B tech products?
What we will see going forward are fewer discussions around technology. Because, if you look at the change in the buying cycle, it’s coming from business side, not IT. It’s going to be on the business value, what is the performance, what is the cost, so we as technology vendors need to make it easier for business people to do their jobs. To be the fastest, most automated, and cheapest way to meet business value.
That’s the biggest trend we have to face as technology vendors. Because business users just don’t care about the underlying technology. They care about, is it stable, does it work, and how friendly is the support team.