Conducting Analysis

by Mar 2, 2020

Over the last few posts in this series on being success­ful in digital analyt­ics, I have covered how to struc­ture your imple­men­ta­tion, add new items to your imple­men­ta­tion and focus on data quality. In this post, I will talk about moving into the analy­sis phase of digital analyt­ics.

While reading the posts in this series may have seemed like a lot of work (and home­work assign­ments), I have some bad news for you. Believe it or not, all of this work has only gotten you to the start­ing line of digital analyt­ics! I say this because all of this work has been put in so that you, your team and/or your stake­hold­ers can begin using the data that you are collect­ing to conduct analy­sis. Who would have thought we’d be thir­teen posts in before we even start looking at data!

So how do you “do analy­sis?” That is a large ques­tion and has been the subject of many books. In this post, we can’t get into the details on this, but instead, I want to talk about the general approach to analy­sis. As I mentioned in the profit/cost center post, it is always best if your team is focused on using data to make or save your orga­ni­za­tion money instead of simply provid­ing reports. This is where the busi­ness require­ments gath­er­ing work you did earlier can really pay off. Using prior busi­ness require­ment prior­i­ti­za­tion, you can try to auto­mate the lower prior­ity stuff so that you can spend more time on the higher prior­ity busi­ness ques­tions.

As mentioned in the prior post, you only gener­ate ROI from digital analyt­ics when you use data to make a change to your website/app that has a posi­tive impact. One analogy I like to use is that of a ther­mome­ter and a ther­mo­stat. A ther­mome­ter is a pretty boring device. It simply tells you the current temper­a­ture or you can record its read­ings and see histor­i­cal temper­a­tures as well. But ther­mome­ters won’t let you change the temper­a­ture. Conversely, ther­mostats have a dial that can be turned left or right and doing this will cause the temper­a­ture to get warmer or cooler. Good analyt­ics teams are like ther­mostats in that the data is a means to an end. They do not collect the data to simply report on it, but rather, they use data to iden­tify hypothe­ses that they can test out to improve conver­sion rates or user expe­ri­ences.

In some respects, good digital analyt­ics teams are like scien­tists employ­ing the scien­tific method. They are constantly using data to conjure new theo­ries and tests that either prove or disprove their hypothe­ses. When I joined Sales­force and headed up analyt­ics, it took about a year for us to tran­si­tion from being a ther­mome­ter team to a ther­mo­stat team. But once we made the tran­si­tion, we were laser-focused on the most impor­tant busi­ness objectives/requirements and were ulti­mately viewed as a profit center for the orga­ni­za­tion. This required automat­ing some lower value items and assert­ing ourselves into more high-value projects within the orga­ni­za­tion. If you feel like you are stuck being a ther­mome­ter, I encour­age you to work with your bosses to discuss the current state of your team. In most cases, those higher up in the orga­ni­za­tion want you to be adding more value, so they might be recep­tive to the conver­sa­tion. You should bring some of the infor­ma­tion I had you do as a home­work assign­ment from the second post (i.e. how much time your team spends on profit/cost center activ­i­ties) to the conver­sa­tion and discuss how to get your team from where you are today to where you want to be. And if your orga­ni­za­tion doesn’t want to move your team from being a ther­mome­ter to a ther­mo­stat then it may be time for you to think about looking for a new employer who will!

Action Items

Your home­work for this post is to:

  • Do more research into how much time your team is spend­ing on ther­mome­ter vs. ther­mo­stat projects.
  • If possi­ble, iden­tify cases in which your team has added value through a ther­mo­stat-like project and how much value was provided so you have some exam­ples to help make your case.

In the next post, I will cover some of the ways you can struc­ture your team to provide analy­sis support within the orga­ni­za­tion.

We’re here to help you through this.

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