Analysis paralysis

If an ad is served in the forest with no one around …

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Sales and marketing decide they need to track all user interactions with served ads, says pilot fish on the scene. How long do users stay on the ad? Which parts (and sub-parts) of the ad do they tend to hover over? Anything and everything that can be captured will be captured.

One of the tech guys modifies the ads to send this information in real time to a server, which then writes it to a cloud-based storage facility. No one knows how much data is going to be generated, and the cloud option will allow for expansion as needed.

Once the code is finished and deployed, it generates tons of data, all accessible to sales and marketing for analysis. The tech guy moves on to other tasks.

After some months, the tech guy asks sales how the data has helped and wonders whether they need any further tweaks or changes.

The answer is on the order of, “Huh?”

Tech guy responds: “The data gathering you asked me to insert into the served ads.”

“Oh, we don’t look at that stuff. We thought you did.”

In the meantime, hundreds of gigabytes of storage are being used and paid for.

Techie informs his boss of the situation and waits for directives. But no further instructions are ever issued. As far as fish knows, that data is still being gathered — and stored. “I bet,” he muses, “one could do one hell of an analysis on that much data.”

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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