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Interview - Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO at Unmetric

Interview - Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO at Unmetric

Lux Unmetric[dropcap size="2"]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: What are some of the main tenets (philosophies, goals, attributes) of analytics approach and policies at your organization?

[dropcap size="2"]LN[/dropcap]Lakshmanan Narayan: We believe that social media content and campaign analysis requires more than just the best algorithms and that some complex pattern recognition is best accomplished through human cognition. Therefore, our approach is to combine the power of people and technology to provide competitive intelligence to businesses that impact decision making across marketing, customer service, R&D, operations, and human resources.

AIM: Can you brief about some of the services you provide?

LN: Unmetric provides an online platform for Fortune 500 companies, agencies and other large global brands to understand the competitive landscape, uncover insights based on data and unlock new social strategies. We pull data from the popular social networks, filter it and apply algorithms paired with insights from a team of data analysts to provide clients with intelligence that explores deeper, more meaningful information about their social media efforts.

AIM: What are the key differentiators in your analytical solutions?

LN: Where many social media analytics companies rely solely on computational algorithms, Unmetric has a team of data analysts to tease out insights in a way only humans can. This provides more context around the data that is being provided to clients.

AIM: Please brief us about the size of your organization and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.

LN: Unmetric is a rapidly growing company with more than 70 employees including development, data analysts, operations, marketing and sales teams. As a company, we foster an environment that facilitates fast decision making and open communication. Because responding to clients’ needs is our number one priority, we’ve retained a fairly flat hierarchy across departments to maximize agility and make it easy for our teams to serve our clients.

AIM: What are the planned next steps/ road ahead for your organization?

LN: The way in which companies use social media continues to evolve. Brands today are looking for new ways to leverage social media to gain actual competitive advantages in the marketplace and drive business results. Our intent is to keep expanding and improving our platform to meet these changing needs. One of our near term plans is to expand our development and analytics teams to provide clients with even deeper insights into the unstructured data from social networks.

AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of the analytics space?

LN: When you have so much data coming from social media, providing meaningful analytics to businesses that actually help them with their business operations becomes a challenge. There is a tendency to try to provide charts and other visuals on every single data point, which often clouds the picture with data overload. The challenge is to curate the data and provide it in a way that helps the businesses with metrics that matter rather than confuse them.


AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?

LN: Having studied engineering at IIT Madras, I always had an affinity for data and numbers, and my time at IIM Calcutta helped me realize the importance of aligning numbers with business decisions. My time in advertising, more specifically the media planning and buying industry gave me a ringside view of the importance of data and analytics in powering marketing decisions and strategies.

AIM: What kind of knowledge worker do you recruit and what is the selection methodology? What skill sets do you look at while recruiting in analytics?

LN: We don’t have an archetype when it comes data analysts. Someone with an engineering background can interpret data in a different way than someone with a visual communications background. It’s important for us to have a diverse mix of backgrounds to get multiple viewpoints. One of the things we do before inviting a candidate in for an interview is to have them do some tests that involve gathering, analyzing and commenting on data. It really levels the playing field and means you can tap hidden talent rather than restricting yourself to a certain profile.

unmetric2AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?

LN: The trend across all industries is moving the conversation from ‘big data’ to ‘smart data’. It’s not just the volume of data that’s important, it’s about how companies can use that data to make informed decisions that help move their enterprise forward.

Also, data analytics will become embedded in every aspect of a business. Marketing has traditionally been at the forefront of data analytics, but at Unmetric, we’ve seen many departments make use of social media data to make decisions. I think that’s one key takeaway that businesses need to understand, just because one department might be responsible for generating and analyzing data, doesn’t mean it’s not useful for the whole business.

AIM: Who do you think your main competitors are?

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LN: There are many companies in the social media analytics space today. Some focus on social media ‘listening’ and others are publishing platforms. However, unlike these other companies, Unmetric is a ‘seeing’ platform that looks at what brands are doing in social media.

We’re often told by clients that nobody else comes close to offering what we do in terms of combining the quantitative power of algorithms with the qualitative insights of our team of data analysts. Unmetric allows account executives tasked with with collecting social media data to complete in minutes what would normally take days or weeks. This frees them up to focus more on creating engaging content and campaigns instead of crunching numbers.

AIM: Anything else you wish to add?

LN: Data analytics is a big opportunity for Indian companies, especially as businesses here become more data driven than ‘gut’ driven. However, there are still challenges in terms of adoption and a lot of the old-style thinking still remains. Western companies are much more data driven and businesses in India need to take advantage of that.


Visit Unmetric here.

[divider] [spoiler title="Biography of Lakshmanan Narayan" style="fancy" icon="plus-circle"]

Lakshmanan (Lux) Narayan is co-founder and serves as CEO of Unmetric, an online platform that provides leading brands and agencies with social media competitive intelligence.

Previously, Lux co-founded and currently serves on the board of Vembu Technologies, an online data backup solution.

In the non-profit sector, Lux co-founded ShareMyCake, a charitable foundation dedicated to fostering a more ‘giving’ generation of kids.

Lux holds degrees from IIM, Calcutta and IIT, Madras and resides in NYC.[/spoiler]

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