As a digital analytics solution provider, we rely on collaborative development. This approach, based on continuous exchange and iteration, can take many forms. For AT Internet, it means involving our customers in our product design, it means joint development with digital marketing solutions, and it means specific work methods used by our R&D teams. In this article, we’ll discuss agility and collective intelligence, and share examples of platforms and projects. Follow us behind the scenes.
The concept of collaborative development
The first form of collaborative development we practice comes directly from our Agile development methods. In an Agile approach (Scrum method), collaboration with the customer is constant and continuous. The customer is fully involved in the project and drives things from one end to the other, in close collaboration with dev teams. The customer can share its vision for the product, and features it wishes to see. The dev team advances in iterations in order to realise each portion of the product. The result is a quicker first release.
Within a company, internal competitions or hackathons are also fantastic opportunities for collaboration and interaction between teams. These types of events are often the source of unique and beneficial innovations. A perfect example at AT Internet is our In-page analytics extension, born out of our annual Ship-It Day event, which is now an essential tool for web analysts to display and view data with just one click while on the measured site.
Technological partnerships between providers of complementary tools are also great vectors of innovation. The issue here is responding to the needs of customers who generally use several different platforms to manage their digital activity (analytics, testing, attribution, SEO, tag management, ad serving, and more…). Connections between tools can go from simple API calls all the way to true long-term joint development initiatives with other solution providers.
APIs, at the heart of the process
As a quick reminder, an API is a programming interface which enables interactions between programmes. A very simple example: the Facebook “Like” button at the bottom of this article relies on an API development. APIs are therefore at the very heart of collaborative development for several reasons: they are open (accessible to all developers), can be integrated into any system, and their purpose is to link data together by creating bridges between tools. In a recent article, Gartner describes the importance of placing APIs at the centre of all digital strategies. Paolo Malinverno says, “APIs are at the basis of platforms business models on which ecosystems are built.” He goes on to specify that APIs are key to the co-creation process between different partners within the digital ecosystem.
To illustrate the concrete benefits of an API, let’s take the example of AT Internet Analytics Suite users who frequently use our API to integrate analytics data into their information systems. Some of our major media clients have created API links between their CMS and their AT Internet database in order to view performance of their content directly within their writing and editing platforms. The result: journalists can (re)act more quickly, and editorial management is more efficient.
Open source dev platforms
When it comes to development, myriad collaborative platforms exist. At AT Internet, we use GitHub. This platform hosts dev projects and makes it possible for each collaborator to contribute to their evolution. Our Apple and Android SDKs are available on GitHub – why not have a look and contribute?
Collaborative projects at AT Internet
Here’s a quick look at some of the recent, current, and upcoming projects that our teams are working on.
- User Insights beta programme: For some time now, whenever we release a new tool, we almost always offer it in beta before the full launch. The User Insights project is no exception. User Insights offers a set of analyses enabling you to track the user journey across your sites and properties, across sources, and across devices. The principle of this beta programme is to give certain customers early access to the product, so that they may test it and give us their feedback. Beta testers can navigate through the tool and share their impressions and ideas via an integrated feedback interface, whether these are comments on UX, layout, wording, or other aspects. In parallel, we also ask these beta testers to answer surveys which help us prioritise our developments.
- Co-design of the Explorer interface: Our upcoming data exploration tool, Explorer, is also being beta tested. The selected users are asked to give their feedback on all aspects of the tool related to design and usability. We also measure and analyse how users are interacting with the Explorer Our beta testers can also participate in workshops (here on site in Bordeaux, or remotely) with our product design teams.
- The AT Internet marketplace: We will soon be offering our customers a library of plugins enabling them to tag content hosted and managed on 3rd-party platforms (like WordPress, Outbrain, YouTube, Brightcove, etc.) via different source code submitted by our teams.
Want to know more about our beta test programmes, become a beta tester, or contribute to our developments? Get in touch!