Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NumberGo: A Publishing Platform for The Signal Economy

As I speak and write about The Signal Economy - the transition of general economic growth to those who know how see and act on patterns in big data rapidly - one thing is crystal clear to me: most publishers and consulting services providers are behind the curve when it comes to taking advantage of signals from data of all kinds. Yes, there are niches such as financial services where companies have set the trends in signal detection and rapid actions, but even in finance the average newsletter producer or sales specialist has pretty scant tools for sharing good data analysis with their clients. And in turn, those clients generally have to sweat through some ugly time of massaging data from a provider to see their own patterns in the tea leaves of complex data sets. We talk a big game on the importance of data, but do we really know how to tell stories with interactive data sets profitably and effectively? Not so much.

Enter NumberGo, a young company started by data publishing veterans who have come up with a simple-to-use publishing platform that enables interactive graphing and charting views into data sets of all kinds. I was a bit skeptical of NumberGo's capabilities when I first heard about them, but as I have seen their platform develop over the past several months, I have been increasingly impressed by its ease of use and the power of getting from raw data to cloud and offline published data views that can be easily tailored by a client into their own analysis. Doable in spreadsheets? Sure - but messy, and often a barrier to both usability and revenue management. A publisher wants to share its best data on a subscription basis, often, and spreadsheets are just not publisher-friendly from that perspective. The typical alternative of the graphics department coming up with jazzy interactive stuff is just not cost-effective and often limits the data's story-telling capabilities for sophisticated B2B audiences. Internal business intelligence tools might do more, but at a huge cost - and typically with very limited options for interactive sharing of personalized views in a Web publishing environment.

Long story short, NumberGo makes this all easy to do for publishers and data consultants. Upload data easily from one or more sources - including multiple spreadsheets, complex databases and big data tools - and you get to pick fields for analysis in NumberGo's interactive graphing charting tools. Save a view, and publish it via NumberGo's cloud platform with your own micro-portal branding and subscription controls - or enable offline viewing via NumberGo's PC client software. Either way, your clients using this data can use the same charting tools to develop and save their own custom views of your data, without having to muck with exports into spreadsheets and, if you allow it, to share those custom data views with others. You can also embed NumberGo data views in your own publishing platform, providing additional value to your editorial content where your quest for audience engagement may appreciate it most.

If this reads like a plug, it is - I am helping out NumberGo with sales referrals, and would be glad to discuss their product with you and to arrange for a private demo. I am doing sales referrals for NumberGo in part because I believe that they have invented the right product at the right time for the right people. The publishing industry is stymied in many ways by how to make money from text-based analysis and limited in its options for making money from clear analysis of complex data sets that can be published rapidly for today's decision-makers. NumberGo may not be the right tool for these needs in many instances, but I do think that it's the sort of mid-range publishing solution that's likely to be both affordable for the vast majority of publishers and easily implemented with very little disturbance to existing publishing technology operations. In other words, you can make money with NumberGo now - not later.

If content in The Signal Economy is moving more towards the stories that your data can tell, then I encourage Shore's clients and followers to consider a tool like NumberGo as one key way to get a leg up on the opportunities in data publishing and data consulting as soon as possible. There is value - and money - being left on the table, and I'd hope that NumberGo can help you to pick it up as soon as possible as you create a more satisfied client base.