One of the simplest ways to get started with a software product for your customers is to automate the review of data.  That is especially valuable when you can identify events, anomalies or patterns and notify your customers.  This pattern of product is easily monetized because the value proposition is simple.  Use smart machines instead of error prone humans to track vast streams of tedious data looking for problems or patterns that impact the business.

It turns out you can build these kinds of applications without being an expert in complex technology or software development.  What you need are tools that allow you to create professional extensions to your service and automate information you might otherwise manually email to your customers.  Monetizing this kind of investment in your business means selling your existing customer base something entirely new that improves your firm’s overall margins.  Software can often be produced and sold with a 70-80% gross margin which leaves your firm with higher profit.  Make the revenue recurring and it will likely improve your firm’s valuation as well.

As an example, imagine a firm with customers that have franchises around the country and want to monitor their brand experience on review platforms to watch for highly positive or negative events.  We’ll build a simple workflow to pull from a common source for review management, apply some intelligence to the comments and then send a notification based on that intelligence with KNIME, an open source visual analytics development platform.

In this example we download two template workflows from the Blacklight Gallery and combine them.  The Blacklight Gallery, to be released this summer, is a set of already developed workflows so you don’t have to start your analytics ideas from scratch.  You can easily connect to common data sources, use predefined workflows to analyze them and even write results back to a database or send notifications.   The first workflow we download connects to Google My Business to collect review data on behalf of a customer.  The second workflow scores the sentiment of the reviews as positive or negative.  We simply copy and paste to add sentiment analysis to the collection of Google reviews.  Once complete, we add a check on the sentiment and email the appropriate contact at the customer when sentiment crosses a threshold.

This is just one example of the kinds of applications you can build without code that allow you to automatically tap customers on the shoulder when something important happens.  All you need to determine is what your customers really need to know.  We all have to track massive amounts of information today, and your customers are likely already inundated with data streams they have to track.  If you can identify the right information in which a timely notification would improve their business, then they will likely pay you to automate it.  Blacklight helps you build and schedule those automations easily and enables you to begin monetizing that information.