Understanding data to unlock behaviours

“What can they do with phone numbers and email?” One question that lead to a longer afternoon discussion, more than I expected.


A lot of programmers and developers implement their deliveries based on business requirements document or so called BRD. Referring to its name, the document does breakdown the purpose of app, web or features development but most often it does not outline the visions of it. By that, the discussions of the implementers mostly stem on how do we do or implement it, instead of why it needed to be developed.

So, back to the phone and email question. The discussion then was about e-payment data. Along the talk about the use of data, my friend, whom I see him as a very good developer questions on what kind of knowledge we can extract from mere phone number and email. He referred to the need of inputing a valid phone number and email to initiate an e-payment app.

Well, after securing my second cup of coffee to comfort myself, I try my best to explain to him what is it that we can dig from a single email and phone number.

Unlocking the behaviours. Our journey as customers start when we give our email and phone number to create an e-payment account. The two data open ways for the e-pay companies to spam us with enormous information, offerings, contest and lots of other activities gimmick to keep us engage with their services. This is only the beginning.

What sort of behaviour can be unlock?

Let’s start by asking more questions to make it more interesting, “how many time do you top up in monthly basis, at how much? What do you spend regularly with the e-pay? Is it within the app services outside purchase?”

Now, we’re talking, right?

Understanding behaviour through data would be the key to win the future. It is not as simple as having the data at hand, it is how we can utilise it to reinvent or even bringing something new to the table.

Every companies hold data in their pocket, could be information about their users, audience, services spent or given, employees working hours, productivity or anything. The potential to understand certain behaviours by mapping out or correlate certain data are limitless. From here on, we can build something with the purposes, like how to create more efficiency, creating new business, improving audience engagement to the services, etc.

Visions from insights. It’s the pattern that we try to seek and understand, that shapes our behaviour. The findings are what we called as insights. From here on, the next question would be what we going to do about it?

What to do with insights? Nothing.

As the question should be, what kind of insights can we acquire? It has to be more than finding out that 1,000 female users registered from Jakarta.

Getting useable insights are not easy. First we need to understand the bigger purpose of business or shall I say the company. Earning profit is the obvious, that’s why people build business at first place. I’m aiming little bit beyond that. What’s the mission?

Let’s use the e-pay app as example. If the purpose is to lead the market by presenting simplify payment solutions then the insights we need to seek from understanding the data needs to relate to what is the current problems with existing payment?

More questions need to be laid out in order to compile the right data, mapping it out and finding out the pattern, then of course create something out of it. Activities, reinventing or create new services.

From my perspective, it’s not just phone number and an email. It’s about getting a better grip of the end users by figuring out their behaviour through activities.

When I develop something, I always ask the team or client, what is it that we’re trying to achieve by creating the features? To eliminate the first 5-10 second of time of inputing data every time it’s used or to deliver efficiency to the users by creating a shortcut?

I believe, by understanding the purpose of implementation or the build up, we could create something that can be used for broader users and longer period of time-used. If the efforts are the same, why not building a better foundation for future used instead of mere now.

So, what’s next? With what we have right now, from social media to a bunch of apps within our phones, the potential use of data that companies can acquire are limitless. But acquiring is just the initial phase.

To have data is gold, but without the knowledge on how to expedite it, it would be useless.

What I’m interesting right now is how to transfer data more securely. But this would be for another topic of writing 😉

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