Why it’s daft to base decisions on headline statistics..

Two part post on why you should look deeper into data than just the headlines.

Part 1:

The tech industry has been kicking up a fuss about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer demanding that Yahoo employees who previously worked from home report into the office.

I’m not going to pretend I can offer any more insightful debate on why this is a good or a bad move by Mayer because frankly people with far more knowledge of Yahoo have definitely covered it. But, one thing that stands out for me is that apparently Mayer based her decision on how hard the tele-commuting employees were working on data from how often they were logging into Yahoo’s VPN. To base a decision on such high level data as that is in my opinion foolish.

My personal experience is that I work from home and there could be entire days that go by where I don’t log into my work’s internal system. It doesn’t mean I’m not working, it means I’m working on something that doesn’t require me to login.

If you aren’t getting the right results from your staff who are working from home it doesn’t mean you have a bad model it means you have bad people. There’s a difference.

As an employer you limit employing people who can commute easily to an office then you limit the pool in which you can hire talent. If you as an employee limit where you work to an easily commutable distance then you limit the type of company you can work for.

If Meyer had looked at the deeper analytics I am sure she would have found the problem lay with individuals and not the work from home model.

Part 2:

As with all things in tech what’s hot usually transcends into the mainstream, especially with business. Mobile & Social have been hot for years now and they are definitely hot topics in business now too.

That said I’ve lost count of the amount of businesses that have approached me requesting a mobile app for transacting purchases of their products to their customers. These business owners have been fed a diet of mobile buzz words at conferences and have come to the conclusion that they need a mobile app.

It’s important for me to point out at this time that I am not stating that businesses who sell products online shouldn’t be investing in mobile, or at least thinking about it. What I am saying is that these business owners always seem to use one headline statistic to base their decision and that is simply the percentage of World Wide Web traffic that is now made up from mobile devices. The percentage of course is always changing depending on how you compile the statistics but generally it always seems to be at least one 3rd of internet traffic is currently from a mobile device.

So as a owner of a business selling products online of course you are right to want to invest in a mobile app right? Not necessarily. What you should do is firstly base your decision on your own statistics of how many people are viewing your site on a mobile device. If it is as high as the other statistics you read or higher then you are right to consider an app but the big statistic you really need to be looking at is the conversion rate from mobile users of how many people actually buy your products on a mobile app.

If you’re a giant in eCommerce then of course mobile app development is for you. But if selling online is just a part of your business then you should really research whether it is currently a worthy investment carefully. Creating a mobile app will not only require heavy investment of resources to maintain it also. If it isn’t being utilised it’s a waste of resource and money.

I’d recommend checking deeper into your analytics, spot if your customers are buying on their mobile devices. Further still contact your customers and find out if they would use your mobile app.

A provider of software within the industry I work in launched a mobile app platform. The headline statistics they used were based on mobile traffic and not conversions. In the case of this software company they haven’t even perfected their main product let alone their eCommerce product. So to waste resources on an untested channel seems daft.

That’s why the statistics matter!

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