Why Organizations Struggle With Digital Analytics (and How to Overcome the Struggle!)

by Jan 20, 2020

It is hard for me to believe that I have been working in the digital analyt­ics field for almost twenty years now! It seems like yester­day that I first learned about log files and putting snip­pets of JavaScript code on the website of the Chicago Mercan­tile Exchange in order to analyze visitor behav­ior. A lot has changed since then. Digital analyt­ics has become much more sophis­ti­cated, the support­ing tech­nolo­gies have matured, and busi­ness­peo­ple expect to see data for all digital actions taken by customers and prospects.

But for all of the steps forward the digital analyt­ics indus­try has taken, I continue to be amazed at how many orga­ni­za­tions strug­gle to run success­ful digital analyt­ics programs and imple­men­ta­tions. I first encoun­tered this way back when I worked for Omniture’s consult­ing group. I would go from client to client and see the same issues affect­ing each orga­ni­za­tion. These orga­ni­za­tions had one or more of the follow­ing issues:

  • Digital analyt­ics data was not trusted within the orga­ni­za­tion
  • Digital analyt­ics teams were under­staffed and unable to keep up with requests for analy­sis
  • Digital analyt­ics imple­men­ta­tions were set up incor­rectly
  • Digital analyt­ics teams weren’t knowl­edge­able enough on their analyt­ics tool to get it to do what they needed 
  • Busi­ness stake­hold­ers didn’t know what data was avail­able, how to access it or what it meant
  • Exec­u­tives weren’t seeing the value of digital analyt­ics within the orga­ni­za­tion

In most cases, the orga­ni­za­tion would choose to blame all of the preced­ing items on their digital analyt­ics vendor. Even though I worked for the vendor at the time, I could honestly say that most of the issues above had nothing to do with the vendor or its prod­ucts. Even­tu­ally, my role at Omni­ture was that of the “Wolf” in Pulp Fiction and I was sent out to help get these trou­bled orga­ni­za­tions back on track. While it was easy for them to blame the vendor, I repeat­edly found that there was a specific set of issues or behav­iors that led to their digital analyt­ics woes. I also learned over time some tech­niques that could be brought to bear to address the issues these orga­ni­za­tions were facing.

After I left Omni­ture, I went back to the client side and managed the digital analyt­ics program at Sales­force. At the time, their analyt­ics team was facing many of the same issues. This provided me with an oppor­tu­nity to apply what I had learned in my “Wolf” role at Omni­ture in my own situ­a­tion over a two-year period. For me it was a fasci­nat­ing case study in how you can take an ailing digital analyt­ics program and nurse it back to health. While there are no silver bullets, I found that many of the concepts I had applied to various Omni­ture customers did help our team at Sales­force and I have used the same tech­niques in my subse­quent consult­ing career.

There­fore, in this series of blog posts, I am going to share some advice and approaches to getting the most out of digital analyt­ics in hopes that some of them help you in being more success­ful within your orga­ni­za­tion. Over the next few weeks, I will sequen­tially walk you through how to trans­form digital analyt­ics at your orga­ni­za­tion. Even if you think you are perfect, I still think you will find some useful tips/ideas in these posts. Each post will provide concrete action items for you to take if you want to improve your digital analyt­ics program. So, if you want to get more value from digital analyt­ics at your orga­ni­za­tion, start by reading the first install­ment:

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