In this edition of Insider Interviews, HG Insights’ CTO Rob Fox explains the difference between data and insights, and how having patents pending on unique technologies is a surefire way for HG to continue dominating the intelligence sector for years to come.
How does data become insights, and what makes insights actionable?
What makes HG Insights unique is the amount of data we collect and the amount we actually throw away. Our process cleans, dedupes, and prepares billions of documents each month, and we collect even more digital content to figure out what may have actionable insights before we mine it. The reduction process is every bit as important as mining and extraction.
The quality of our insights is also unique. While we mine billions of customer-consumable data points each month, not everything makes the cut. We hold a very high bar for the quality of these empirical data points—the precision in our data is 90% or higher. At the end of the day, it’s only an insight if it generates ROI for our customers. If the quality is low then we cannot drive customer value. This is why HG Insights focuses on the quality of insights over quantity.
We turn data into insights by amassing an extraordinary amount of data, boiling it down and transforming it in a way that can be readily consumed by a customer through our products and services. Our insights are tailored to drive customer value and enable them to maximize ROI with as little effort as possible.
- We help customers sift through the vast noise of data to focus on the right signals.
How do you keep innovating HG Insights’ solutions to keep up with the emerging needs of customers and the pace of growth in the industry?
I start by asking questions like: “Why does your business exist?” Or, “What question do you wish you had the answer to that would make your business wildly successful?” That gives me all the fuel I need to go figure out how to help a customer with their individual needs.
The truth is, customers and the solutions they deploy are getting more and more data sophisticated. When HG Insights began, we focused on providing our customers with details on which technologies a company used. This was our “Ridiculously Unfair Advantage,” and we helped companies drive more effective sales and marketing programs to increase conversions. We were pioneers at providing this kind of insight at scale—and we still are, because we are relentless in finding new ways to provide customers the answers to increasingly sophisticated questions.
On a bigger level, we invest in innovation. A couple of years ago, CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky and I started a new initiative, “CoreIP,” to reinvest in innovation. Our explicit goals are to improve our data and insights and bring new insights to the market. As part of this initiative, we launched a patent program to help foster innovative ideas across HG Insights… and we have already filed five patents, with several more in the queue.
We believe we have a duty to continue innovating and leading in this space, all while maintaining our promise of quality.
Can you tell us more about the patent program, the five patents already filed, and how they position HG in the Technology Intelligence sector?
We introduced the HG Inventions Program as a way to foster a collaborative environment throughout the company. Teams are encouraged to engage with all our products and give us ideas on how to improve and expand them—or propose something entirely new.
Out of that, we have already filed five new patents. One example of a recent patent is a new and novel way of doing named-entity resolution in text to help us better disambiguate and discern meaning. Here’s an example: imagine you have a document that mentions the word “Google”. Now we’re left with the question: does this document reference Google as the entire company, or just a specific product? Is it a short-hand for Google Cloud Platform (GCP)? Or is it referring to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)? In our world, context means everything.
Tools like this drive up precision and overall coverage of HG’s insights, which lead to increased ROI for our customers. This is just one of the many new patents and plans we have to leverage HG’s unparalleled data.
What are some potential applications/use cases of HG’s data that we might not be aware of? Are there other industries that would benefit from HG’s data?
We sit on a goldmine of information. Because we have data and insights derived from thousands of technologies across millions of businesses, we frequently combine pieces to create something new. For example, we match insights we’ve already mined with new data points or experimental analyses to create new, actionable insights.
From a general perspective, this has led to two kinds of inventions:
- Novel techniques or machinery to mine data
- For example, a patent on a new technique in named entity resolution
- Novel insights from the mined data
- For example, a patent on a machine learning model that predicts technology purchase behavior
We experiment with all kinds of new applications of our insights constantly — everything from trying to determine technology adoption down to the department and location level over time, contextualizing intent data — and from this experimentation we’ve successfully developed new products.
This means helping customers sift through the vast noise of data to focus on the right signals. And even though we primarily focus on technology in the B2B vendor space, everything we build is generic enough to be applied to other industries such as financial services, healthcare, and more.
Any last thoughts for this Insider Interview?
At HG, we are fortunate to work with data analytics leaders of technology vendors, understanding their challenges and formulating best practice solutions together. They trust our input on their processes, challenges, and solutions so that they can execute successful Go-To-Market strategies. They trust HG because of our data. With quality data, you can get them to trust you too.