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Business intelligence meets mobility at eHarmony

John Moore | Nov. 12, 2014
As online dating site eHarmony has expanded its mobile presence, it has also made good use of its business intelligence platform. This provides better visibility into what mobile users are doing and what services are better off being scrapped.

business intelligence

Mobility is hardly new in enterprise circles. Businesses are busily building mobile apps for in-house use and for customers, while the task of managing employees' mobile devices absorbs many companies' CIOs.

Some organizations, however, look to refine their mobile strategies. When eHarmony reworks its mobile applications, for example, the relationship services provider does so with the backing of a 25TB data warehouse and a roster of data analytics tools.

The dating service has spent the last five years building a business intelligence platform. The data warehouse component employs IBM's Netezza TwinFin appliance and the company's PureData System. A MicroStrategy-based analytics layer sits atop the data warehouse. IBM's SPSS predictive analytics package, the R machine-learning software environment and Informatica data integration software also augment the data warehouse.

The business intelligence tools feed dashboards, keeping eHarmony apprised of site usage and revenue trends. The platform also drives product development at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company. Data analytics identifies the features and functions users find most attractive on the traditional desktop; those items then can be introduced on eHarmony's mobile apps.

The company's matchmaking service runs on Apple's iPhone and iPad, Android devices and Windows Phone. Half of eHarmony users arrive at the matchmaking service on mobile devices, reflecting eHarmony's extended, social-media fueled reach among younger users. "We're ... working to get the best features and functions from desktop to mobile," COO Armen Avedissian says.

Better apps means an improved user experience. That translates into higher conversion rates for eHarmony and better matches for customers -- and rates have increased more than 25 percent since January. "A successful match is our mission and business," Avedissian says.

Matchmaking Behind The Scenes
You could argue that dating has always been a numbers game, but eHarmony's task is to improve the odds for its customers. The data warehouse and analytics plays a number of behind-the-scenes roles in that regard. One such role is gleaning insight into customers' site usage and level of engagement. The company can keep tabs on users from the time of acquisition all the way to purchase and can also monitor customer lifetime value. It can also perform clickstream analysis to zero in on customer usage patterns.

The warehouse is populated with data from a number of sources, Avedissian notes, including Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst the SPSS system and the machine learning software. Information is also absorbed from eHarmony's matchmaking Hadoop clusters and the company's transaction database.

The warehouse aggregates that data and runs algorithms that monitor the user effectiveness and behavior on the site, he says. "When we marry all this data together, it really creates visibility."


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