Implementation Documentation

by Mar 11, 2020

In the last post of this blog series on being success­ful with digital analyt­ics, I shared my thoughts on train­ing inter­nal customers on digital analyt­ics and some of the asso­ci­ated chal­lenges. As I described, teach­ing people who don’t do digital analyt­ics for a living how to get the data they need and use it correctly can be a monu­men­tal task. In this post, I am going to share how short­com­ings in docu­men­ta­tion and analyt­ics tool admin­is­tra­tion can compound the problem and offer some ideas to help.

When I audit digital analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tions, besides the lack of defined busi­ness require­ments I bemoaned about in an earlier post, I also am shocked by the utter lack of imple­men­ta­tion docu­men­ta­tion. As I review each aspect of their imple­men­ta­tion, I see names of data points that a reason­able jury would not under­stand and when I ask for docu­men­ta­tion, all I get as the outdated SDR that has very little infor­ma­tion. For example, a recent imple­men­ta­tion had a metric named “Punchouts” with no support­ing docu­men­ta­tion. While perhaps employ­ees at the company know that term, would new employ­ees inher­ently under­stand it? Even those who do know what it means may not be aware where in the website visit the metric is set without proper docu­men­ta­tion. I never like to assume that people logging into a digital analyt­ics tool know what a data point means and where it is set.

Most digital analyt­ics tools provide a very basic way to docu­ment data points in the admin­is­tra­tion area like this:

While I suggest doing much more than this, I am amazed at how few of my clients even bother to fill in descrip­tions here. Why not describe what the data point is, where it is set and some tips on how it should be used?

I suggest taking it a step further and creat­ing a full data dictio­nary for your digital analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion. It doesn’t have to be fancy or time consum­ing and might be as basic as this:

I like to include this type of docu­ment directly in the digital analyt­ics tool, possi­bly on a dash­board that every­one has access to upon logging in.

If you have done a good job of follow­ing my home­work assign­ments, your new require­ments driven SDR is also a great tool for helping your users under­stand your imple­men­ta­tion. For example, if you are not sure what the “Chat Purpose” dimen­sion is, you can refer­ence the require­ments docu­ment, find the dimen­sion in the Data Points column and then slide over to see the busi­ness objec­tive and require­ment that drove its imple­men­ta­tion:

I would also suggest that you create a presen­ta­tion that docu­ments the key events that occur on your website along with the data points that are collected in each website event.

Action Items

Your home­work for this post is to:

  • Make sure you have added a descrip­tion to EVERY data point in your imple­men­ta­tion.
  • Create a data dictio­nary with infor­ma­tion on all data points in your imple­men­ta­tion.
  • If possi­ble, create a presen­ta­tion that explains how your imple­men­ta­tion is setup. Pretend that you and your entire team were leaving the orga­ni­za­tion and had to pass on every­thing you know about the imple­men­ta­tion to a team that follows you. What would you tell them? If needed, record videos of you narrat­ing the imple­men­ta­tion and save those video files on your intranet and ulti­mately make them avail­able to anyone who wants it within the orga­ni­za­tion.

In the next post, I will continue on this theme and share how you can improve the general gover­nance of your imple­men­ta­tion to help your end-users.

We’re here to help you through this.

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