Datarino: “To Make Sure Data Is Valuable, Collect Everything”

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We spoke to Edward Meżyk, CEO of Datarino, to learn about the future of big data in business, finding the needle in the haystack and the reasoning behind collecting as much data as possible.

How would you describe Datarino in a few words?

We offer comprehensive big data services and solutions for the financial sector and retail on the Polish and European market. In 2016, we created a marketing & in-store analytics platform (Cluify) for the retail and e-commerce sector. It allows targeting customers with online ads based on their activity in the real world.

What inspired you to create Datarino? How did it all start?

The history of Datarino began in 2012, before establishing the company. At that time I was responsible for running the research department in a Polish social network called Nasza Klasa, where we had built one of the largest data warehouses in Europe.

The step that turned out to be a breakthrough for the history of Datarino was the liquidation of the sales department in Nasza Klasa and dismissal of our entire team. Due to the fact that our competencies were very innovative at that time, we did not want to waste them and we decided to continue the activities we had started with Nasza Klasa. We started attending conferences and talking about big data and its benefits for business. We were looking for a company that would like to take over our department and incorporate it into its structures. However, this did not happen. Well, until we found the Hicron Group who wanted to develop their business in the direction of big data. This is how Up2data, later called Datarino, was created. What is more interesting, Nasza Klasa was our first customer.

Earlier you mentioned your new product, Cluify. What can you tell us about it? What’s new?

Cluify is an online platform that allows to obtain the list of Ad-IDs of any potential customer group based on geographic and behavioral criteria. Advertisers can reach a whole new audience – people who visited their competitors’ store, a nearby area or some particular places on the map – with contextual online ads. What’s more, they then can measure the campaigns’ performance (e.g. the conversion level) directly in our panel.

Besides, offline retailers gain information about the behaviors and preferences of customers located in their store or the nearby area. This knowledge helps them to create personalized marketing campaigns and customer experiences that boost sales.

The main advantages of Cluify include the possibility of acquiring new clients from any given location as well as the mobile coverage. Currently, we can offer one of the biggest mobile coverage in Poland as we knew that without it even the best product could not fully meet the needs of retailers.

 

Are you using Datarino internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the development team?

As for the products of our company, we internally use Cluify. However, the way we use Cluify is different from the final way in which our customers use it. This is due to the differences in the needs of our team and the needs of our customers. Most of our internal needs are not implemented in the system yet, but they are undoubtedly a driving force for development and a source of new functionalities in the product.

All industries are highly impacted by big data. Where do you see the trend going? In the future, how will it be utilized?

Data has a huge impact on all industries. However, big data is not the key importance here, data itself is. Not many organizations are able to handle large datasets that require a dedicated department for their processing, but almost all organizations are interested in the benefits of their analysis. As a result, the market will continue to create and provide ready-made data-based services.

The most common critique regarding big data revolves around finding the needle in the haystack. How do you make sure to only collect respectively present valuable information? What are some key factors that make information precious?

The best way to make sure is to collect everything we can. Only this gives us the confidence that we have not missed anything. In spite of this, however, it often turns out that the sought-after data is not available directly, and is the result of its connection to another value.

For information to be valuable it must be simple, easy to understand, because only this gives us a guarantee of its correct potential for use. Apart from this, the date of the information’s availability is of significance – the closer to the real-time of its creation, the better for the effectiveness of the information’s use. It is also good when the information is digitized to some extent because only then we can easily connect it with other events, irrespective of whether it concerns a large or small company. Another, the most important factor, is its interpretability – the information is only useful when it is possible to interpret it correctly.

What’s the most considerable pivoting maneuver that the team has undertaken throughout the journey so far?

The most important and groundbreaking pivoting maneuver for us was the transfer from using only Bluetooth technology (beacons), which seemed perfect for our product, to technology which combines many commonly available technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, geofencing, and others.

Another significant pivot was changing the essence of Cluify’s operation. We started with the analysis inside the facility, and we ended up providing information on what was going on outside. All this to provide the customer with the highest value from our service.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

The biggest challenge was and still is market education; both in the case of Cluify and big data itself. Market education is always a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. At the beginning, we worked on raising awareness about big data’s implementation in business. However, we noticed that the customers care about the final values of big data analysis, not about the implementation of big data in their companies. Therefore, the scope of services offered by Datarino changed.

A similar situation occurred with the development of Cluify. The need to educate the retail market about the benefits of using new technologies in trade and the manner of using the information received from Cluify. This was and still is certainly a challenge, especially in the case of a traditional sector like retail trade, which is not used to digital campaigns.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Datarino?

Definitely, the first start of the Cluify panel, for which we really had high hopes. Most of our IT team was involved in development of  Cluify, we gained a huge mobile coverage for the platform. It turned out, however, that this was not enough to make the project a complete success. We accepted it and started to improve Cluify’s operations. That is when we made one of the most groundbreaking pivots – the transfer from using only Bluetooth technology (beacons) to technology which combines many commonly available technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or geofencing.

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Be persistent, contrary to adversity, against technical problems, against the changing market. The key to achieving the intended goal is to remain consistent and persistent in overcoming obstacles.

A startup’s path is rarely easy. However, if we believe in our product, do not give up and keep overcoming adversity, we are on the best and only way to success – all of us.

 

 

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