Integrate Web Analytics Process into Existing Web Content Production Processes | ClickInsight Blog

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18 October 2006

Integrate Web Analytics Process into Existing Web Content Production Processes

At the Emetrics summit, Eric Peterson argued for the need for a "Web Analytics Business Process". I didn't see Eric's presentation* as I had made the difficult choice to attend another track. And although nothing beats being in the room, having read Eric's, Marshall Sponder's and Robbin Steif's posts, here's my take.

I agree with Eric. Process is needed. Process defines RACI :- who is Responsible, Accountable, to be Consulted and Informed. Process isn't just about process diagrams. The process (there's that word again!) of creating the diagrams clarifies who's on the hook and for what and that's the benefit of documentation. Laying out the process, printing the map, documenting RACI and getting sign-off should create agreement about the work to be done and who's going to do it.

When there isn't an agreed-upon process, people forget and you have situations such as described by Tim Goudie of Coca-Cola...Because of tagging errors, "we lost one month's worth of data!"

I also disagree with Eric. There is a downside to creating a "new" business process called the Web Analytics Process. Selecting Web analytics tools (one of Eric's slides) should be a distinct process. However, setting up a specific named process for the measurement of content production makes "Web Analytics" an outcome or product of the process. Named processes sometimes take on a life of their own. As I posted on One Degree, Web Analytics isn't an end, it's a means to an end.

Since analytics is all too often an add-on, creating a distinct Web Analytics Process could exacerbate this common occurence. If analytics is positioned as a separate process, analytics will probably continue to be "forgotten".

Instead of a Web Analytics Business Process, I would rather up the ante of the online content/application production process, whether it's search or site or email (or ads, podcasts, videos...). Integrating facets of the Web analytics process into the online content production process and scorecarding the execution of this broader integrated process will lead to longer-term success and a more entrenched measurement culture.

It is unfortunate that the flowcharts and talk of documentation in Eric's presentation seem to have garnered all the attention, burying the benefits of describing and aligning on the process. When aligning on the process, you'll be training all the other members of the online team about Web analytics, and they'll have to understand it to sign off on the enhanced process.

* You can get a copy of Eric's presentation here by email.

What do you think?

June Li
ClickInsight

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2 comments:

Eric said...

June,

Thanks for posting about my presentation! I really enjoy the feedback from other thought leaders in the space and look forward to an ongoing conversation about process and analytics.

I feel like I didn't quite convey an important aspect of my idea and so wanted to try and clarify (likely I'll blog about this on my site as well). Generating these process diagrams IS NOT THE END, it is one of the means to the end (the end being high-quality analysis that drives the business forward.) And these are NOT DESIGNED to be wholly new processes; they are designed to be diagrams of the things that businesses do every day (deploy campaigns, launch pages, generate reports, etc.) that explicitly INSERT MEASUREMENT for consideration.

My firm belief is that this excercise will help organizations begin to move from the work of REPORTING to the process of ANALYSIS. The supposition that "all companies need are short-term wins" is the same short-sighted thinking that people use to come up with "measure conversion from visits because every visit is an opportunity to convert" (not that you're saying that, but it has been said.) Building and measuring a business is a long-term process, and as we heard Dwayne Schulz from Xerox and Tim Goudie from Coca-Cola clearly make, it's not something that happens overnight.

Anyway, nice to see you again, thanks for the post and I welcome your additional comments and criticism at http://www.webanalyicsdemystified.com/weblog

Sincerely,

Eric T. Peterson

June Li said...

Hi Eric,
Thanks for responding. I look forward to your continued blog posts on this topic. Excellent discussion you've triggered!

I wonder, could this focus on charts and "shelfware" simply be an unfortunate side-effect caused by the presence of flowcharts in three of the last four slides in your presentation?

I realize you aren't suggesting that this is a wholly new process (sorry for the lack of clarity in my post). You do say in your presentation that "the management processes describe to the organization how web analytics will be strategically integrated into the existing online channel".

Totally agree it's a long term process. Duane Schultz of Xerox and Tim Goudie of Coca-Cola both have extremely strong top-of-the house patronage that anchors their work. They both have permission to integrate measurement because they have a mandate to clearly demonstrate that onine activities help deliver strategic objectives and to improve outcomes based on analysis.

My issue is the downside of naming the process, which makes it "special". People are busy and they take short cuts (quick wins!). If they haven't taken the time to absorb the nuances of what you are saying, naming a "Web Analytics Process" creates the perception it's separate. This in fact makes Web analytics easier to ignore, working against multi-pronged integration.

I've unfortunately seen the side effects of specialness before. We can learn from the past (as was Bruce Boston's point at Emetrics yesterday when he played the YouTube video History Repeating). I come from a manufacturing environment. Safety and quality "initiatives" and "processes" were once plentiful. So was wheel-spinning. It can a long time to recover traction and integrate these mindset and behaviour back into the process.

Sometimes, making something special is the kiss of death.

All the best,

June

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