Congratulations, you've just successfully built the first version of your software application. We call this the minimum viable product. Ideally, it was a smooth process to get to this stage. However the chances are this isn't your final vision for the application. That's actually a good thing. Rather than build all at once, we build, test, validate and build again. But this article isn't focused on agile software development or our Way of Working. Rather, this article is focused on utilising third party applications to gather data and analytics about how your minimum viable product is being used.
The level of API integration required for each application varies depending on how it operates within your software. Each sector will have existing solutions in the market that can be leveraged. For example in the health care sector there is the Human API which captures and sends data from different sources (eg. Apple Watch, point of care health systems). We will not dive into the various industries and their niche integrations. Rather, we have outlined a few third party applications that have broad application across industries. We recommend these applications to our clients.
For more on what is an API, see our previous blog.
Hotjar is an analytical tool which helps record the usage and behaviour of users on the application. It generally works best for web applications or static websites. By adding a tracking code to your application, Hotjar records site visits (much like Google Analytics does). But where Google Analytics focuses on consolidating data and displaying back trends, Hotjar drills in on individual actions.
The most popular function on Hotjar is the ability to create heatmaps. These are visual representations of pages on your site or application that shows where users are clicking and whether they are scrolling. It also allows you to view which parts of a page are drawing mouse movements.
Benefits: Granular data. The key benefit of Hotjar is that you can drill down on a per page basis to a level that isn't offered by more popular options like Google Analytics.
Firebase is the lesser known Google offering for native applications. If you’re developing a native mobile app then Firebase will provide you with valuable user data. It is predominantly used for drilling into the demographics around who users your app as well as how users are interacting with the app.
Firebase offers integrations with a number of additional tools. This includes BigQuery which allows for more complex analysis like querying large data sets and joining multiple data sources.
Benefits: Provides valuable data insights for mobile apps.
Pipedrive is a CRM and sales conversion application. It allows you to build your customer funnel and track the progress of sales. There are also a number of other features including reporting, email integration, activity reminders and goal tracking.
Some of the more effective uses of Pipedrive that we've seen have come as a result of integrating with the CRM. For example, one client wanted an easy way to track and manage projects that were created in their software application (in order to forecast future manufacturing requirements). As a result we built a Pipedrive integration within the application. So, when a certain action is triggered it may create a deal in Pipedrive. When another action is performed in the app, it moves the deal to a different stage in the pipeline. Our technology platform Codebots has also integrated with Pipedrive to track and manage its customers. Codebots is a platform engineering tool that modernises enterprise software delivery for digital transformation and legacy systems.
Benefits: Better visibility across what's done in your application with CRM functionality.
Drip & Mailchimp
The most common third party app that helps in the product growth stage is marketing automation software. Most people would be familiar with Mailchimp. It has a fantastic visual builder that helps with creating email templates (especially important as you're building your brand). We've integrated with Mailchimp in the past to allow customers to edit/update automated emails.
People are usually less familiar with Drip. Internally, this is the marketing automation software we use. The key benefit of Drip over Mailchimp is the advanced automation workflows that can be built. We decided to integrate the WorkingMouse website with Drip. Hence, we can setup a piece of collateral on the site that when downloaded triggers an email to be sent with the collateral attached. It's worth mentioning that there are other features to Drip including a visual email builder (similar to Mailchimp) and pre-built subscription forms that can be dropped into your website. As with both tools, there are a number of reporting capabilities. There is a difference in the cost. Mailchimp has a lower subscription fee and a decent freemium model.
There are other platforms (like Hubspot) that we won't go into. They have excellent documentation but will likely cost more than Mailchimp and Drip.
These are some tools but there are so many other third party applications in the market. The key is choosing the right tool for your business. We start assessing these third party tools during the Scoping period of our Way of Working.