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What it means to be a data-driven company

Our Culture

4 January 2021

What it means to be a data-driven company

At Wix, we build the best products in the world, and we want to constantly improve them. We have one mission, and that is to help our users succeed. We took it upon ourselves to try and explain what data means to us at Wix, and the role it plays within our organization to help us achieve this goal.

In recent years, and especially with the growth of Internet companies, it has become trendy to use the term “Data-Driven” to describe the process of making informed decisions based on data. Dozens of guides, play books and articles have been written on how to cultivate a data-driven culture.

At the core of everything we do is our mission to help Wix users be even more successful. Not very long ago, our team came up with the idea to analyze online sales of users who built a store on Wix. We split them into two groups - those who had a significant amount of transactions, and those who didn’t.

We looked deep into the user journey of both groups, in order to find what are the most meaningful actions our most successful users take, that other users don't. What we found out was that there was a significant correlation between sales and the use of automated processes - like sending automated emails to their visitors, creating tasks for their teams etc.

When we established that through data, we shared with our users an instructional video we made, pointing out that using Abandoned Cart Automations can increase sales by up to 29%. We tested it, and we're glad to discover that many of them installed this feature, and that it has indeed increased their sales.

No Country for Gut Feelings

Being data-driven means basing every single decision on data. This is true on every level of the company - from our senior management, to the newest person on the team.

So what’s unique about the way we do it at Wix? Well, most companies have business analysts, and in many of them decisions can be based on data. However, even then it’s not uncommon for decision makers to look over data. Reports are being made, recommendations are given, but eventually they can also be disregarded if someone has a strong opinion that isn’t aligned with the numbers.

This can’t happen at Wix. Decisions are never based on hunches and gut feelings. One of our key values is that we measure everything.

There are tons of creative, smart people working at Wix, and they tend to have great ideas. Still, it’s very unlikely that we’ll just take an idea and hit a home run based on intuition alone. We’ll usually look at our data and come up with a plan, start small, perform an A/B test, analyze the data again - and see what’s working. If it’s not, we’ll see how to improve. If it does, we’ll gradually roll it out to our users. This guarantees that only the features and changes that are meaningful and have a proven positive impact on our users are being preserved. Those that haven’t are being taken back to the drawing board, thought over, and then tested again. Essentially, it’s a never ending process that allows us to keep pushing forward and improve.

Paving the Way Forward

Collecting the data, visualizing it, and making it accessible is only the beginning. The role of analysts at Wix is to be business partners of our product teams, to have a seat at the decision making table, to come up with their own ideas and suggestions as to where we should go.

The metaphor we tend to use is that if management is the captain of the ship named Wix, business analysts are the compass. We give our recommendations and predictions, portray what could happen if we turn right, and what’s the risk if we take a left.

Analysts and analytics are at the core of the company’s decision making process, and they provide real business insights that affect our business: whether it’s around our roadmaps, a new market, new product features and flows, or completely new product lines.

How We Use the Compass

In real life, there’s a limit to the number of ideas we can test. Not because we don’t have enough of them (good ideas are endless), but because we have to focus.

So how do we take an idea from concept to implementation? Behind every idea there’s an objective, or a problem we’re trying to solve. This is where our analyst estimates come in. We try to evaluate what would be the impact and contribution of each idea - be it by simple estimates or highly complex models. Being able to gauge the expected potential of each one of these ideas, we can easily prioritize the concepts and ideas with the highest predicted impact. Then we have a plan, which moves into development and production. And, as you might have already guessed, we A/B test it, analyze it, and improve based on the results.

But if this sounds like a given for product, business and marketing decisions - then the truth is that it doesn't stop there. This culture trickled down to every single role in the company, and so even our employee experience and internal communications are tested and measured using data, such as each piece of content we deliver internally.

Building a Culture Around Data Rituals

Since our company was built around transparency, it’s key for us to ensure that data is accessible to everyone in order to help them make better decisions.

We start our day, every single day, in a meeting to go over the data: what are the trends we’re seeing, what happened yesterday. We have those in the form of daily meetings, extended weekly meetings, and also monthly reports.

Everyone of our employees knows our KPIs and can explore the data. We’ve invested a lot of thought and time to create self-service tools for everyone to reach the information they need. Key indicators are published on our screens and public spaces.

By making data visible and accessible, we’re facilitating transparency and knowledge. It’s an agenda.

As an analyst, it’s very rewarding and touching to know that you can help people succeed. We get to be listened to, and to see our ideas come to life. Seeing developers work on something we thought of, and then seeing users adopt it and gain from it - makes the impact we have tangible in real life.

Being a data-driven company allows our analysts to be proactive, to be able to come up with their own ideas and suggestions, and to know that their opinions (based on data, of course) count.

Or Wisenberg, Business Analysts Group Manager


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