A lack of customer focus
In my experience of working in the software development field, I have interacted with many software engineers and even with people who use this software. I have realized that the general belief in the industry is that software is meant only for machines. But, the simple fact is that eventually, a human will use the software.
The lack of customer focus in the software development process is what leads to errors and bugs. It is frustrating for the customers and also drains company resources due to continuous testing and rework.
Users have always tried to raise these concerns but have struggled to find the right forum to communicate their expectations.
However, there is a vast amount of unstructured data that users leave behind, perhaps unknowingly. This can be found in bug reports, in line comments, user forums, and even social media posts. But how can you utilize this data to improve your software development process?
Unstructured data: a treasure trove of information
Software analytics deals with the data generated by users. But, it is not just the structured and unstructured data that we are dealing with here.
Classifying data is not just about building complicated tables. Infact, I find it an interesting study in how humans interact with machines. There is descriptive data like a number of defects, which is structured and easy for machines to understand.
On the other hand, there is interaction data which is generated from the information left behind by users. This includes review comments, email chats and another form of unstructured data.
You can also find organized objective data which based on things quantifiable and measurable. At the same time, you can find subjective data which is laced with personal feelings, emotions, and aesthetics. It is not uncommon for people to use words like “buggy codes” or “high complex code”. It is the unstructured data which holds the key to the mind of users.
Decoding the signs
With software analytics, it is now possible to analyze the unstructured data and extract valuable insights from it. The advent of Natural Language Processing (NLP) has helped companies to go a long way in processing unstructured data.
NLP helps computers to understand human language. With NLP it is possible to extract useful information from unstructured data.
Machine learning is also an exciting field which is making data processing easier. It employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that enable the machine to learn from their own experience and identify patterns in data.
Taking ownership of your software
Investing in software analytics tool will help you to create software more in line with customer needs and improve the quality of your software. It will also reduce the drain on resources by reducing the time spent on testing and rework. But most importantly, it will help you to create software that can be used easily by humans.