In episode 144 of the Experiencing Data Podcast, Brian T. O’Neill hosts Shashank Garg, Co-Founder and CEO of Infocepts, to delve into the complex debate on whether data products are essential for the success of machine learning and analytics initiatives. Shashank provides an insightful exploration of how Infocepts crafts data solutions tailored to specific business workflows. He begins by defining “data products” and discusses real-world applications developed by Infocepts, highlighting their measurable impact and the challenges faced during their creation.

A significant portion of the discussion revolves around user adoption and integrating actionable insights into data products to enhance decision-making. Shashank shares anecdotes and experiences that illustrate the evolution of data products from mere concepts to practical integrations within organizations. The conversation also touches upon the essential roles and skill sets required in data product development, emphasizing the importance of user personas and engagement with actual users to ensure the success of these initiatives.

Additionally, the episode explores the broader implications of adopting a product-oriented approach to data strategies. Shashank and Brian examine the potential impact of generative AI (GenAI) technologies on product orientation and user adoption. They conclude by reflecting on the importance of creating data experiences that drive actions, warning against the pitfalls of building data products that do not deliver tangible business value. This episode provides valuable insights for data leaders, product managers, and business users looking to maximize the benefits of their data initiatives.

Episode Highlights:

  • Definition of Data Products (02:20) –Shashank begins by defining what constitutes a data product.
  • Challenges of User Adoption (04:29) –Shashank and Brian discuss obstacles to user adoption of data products and suggest strategies for overcoming them.
  • Integrating Actionable Insights (05:47) –They emphasize embedding actionable insights into data products to enhance decision-making.
  • The Data Product Evolution (10:35) –Shashank shares insights on the journey of data products from initial concept to practical, real-world use.
  • Designing User-Centric Data Products (12:30) –They explore challenges and strategies for creating data products that prioritize user needs and experiences.
  • Initiating New Data Products (15:57) –Shashank discusses typical challenges when initiating new data products.
  • Incorporating AI into Data Solutions (18:55) –Shashank explains how Infocepts leverages AI to enhance data solutions and drive innovation.
  • Understanding User Personas (25:06) –They discuss the importance of comprehending user personas and engaging directly with end-users.
  • Roles in Data Product Development (32:20) –Shashank describes the roles involved in the ideation and brainstorming stages of data product development.
  • Proxy Users vs. End-Users (35:47) –They examine the issue of proxy users not accurately representing end-users in data product design.
  • Adopting a Product-Oriented Approach (39:48) –They discuss the growing adoption of product-oriented data strategies by organizations.
  • Implications of GenAI (43:47) –They delve into the impact of Generative AI and other AI technologies on product orientation and user adoption.
  • Closing Thoughts (51:00) –Final reflections and key takeaways from the discussion.