I have written several times about the opportunities for social game companies to use analytics beyond just game development, balancing and monetization. An article in the most recent issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review, “Innovating with Analytics,” shines more light on how analytics can help build competitive advantage. Given that all social and mobile game companies already use data extensively to improve their games, the only way a social game company could thus gain a competitive advantage with analytics is to innovate.
In yesterday’s post, I discussed how the Oakland A’s baseball team pioneered the use analytics to build an advantage, but then lost that advantage when other baseball teams copied their approach. This year, however, they won their division by apparently finding an innovative way to use analytics to again build competitive advantage.
The article points to several key traits that social game companies can use to help create competitive advantage through analytics:
- Analytical innovators tend to use more data. The top innovators use most or all of the data their companies generate. For game companies, this not only includes in-game data but also data tied to all aspects of your organization. It also means looking at ALL of your game data, not just a few metrics you regularly review.
- Analytical innovators manage information more effectively. There is a strong correlation between driving competitive advantage through analytics and a company’s effectiveness at managing the “information transformation cycle.” These companies capture data, analyze information, aggregate and integrate data, use insights to guide future strategy and disseminate information and insights throughout their organization. To prove this point, analytical innovators are more than twice as effective at capturing information, more than three times as likely to say they are effective at analyzing information and more than four times as effective at aggregating and integrating information.
- Speed is very important to most analytical innovators. Analytical innovators show a greater need for speed than other companies. Over 85 percent of analytical innovators consider it very important to be able to process and analyze data more quickly.
Although we are already in an analytics-driven industry, it is not sufficient just to do what everyone else is doing, unless you have some other long-term competitive advantage (e.g., IP, tech, user base). By employing the above techniques, you have a path to become the 2012 Oakland A’s and rise to the top without anyone outside your company realizing how.