Friday, January 25, 2013

The Web Analytics Culture: A Data-Driven Approach to Business


With a Web Analytics Culture, a company can “turn data into information, and information into insight.”- Carly Fiorina. Former CEO of HP.

Imagine you have a great idea that you believe can drastically improve the success of your company. It makes so much sense in your head that you are sure your boss is going to love it. However, it is quite likely that after running to your boss and expressing your great enthusiasm for this new project, he or she will look at you and say “ OK. That sounds great. Show me the data to prove it.”

Companies are moving toward a more data-driven approach to business, where decisions are made based on quantifiable evidence and statistics. Gut feelings and personal insights must be supplemented with graphs, hard data, and numbers that provide solid proof [1]. Web analytics is the latest tool in providing data for e-commerce and Internet companies, and is used daily to help companies make decisions based on a data-driven approach. With the substantial impact and implications that come from effective web analytics, it is more important than ever to take a step back, look at your company’s culture , and make sure it is one that facilitates and emphasizes a data driven decision making culture [2].

So how do you refocus your company culture to one that is focused on a data-driven approach? Listed below are five key aspects necessary for helping create a culture where web analytics can achieve optimal influence.

1. Recognize the Difference between Analysis and Reporting. There is often a lot of confusion in organizations on what constitutes reporting and what is actual analysis. In order to create an analytical based culture, it is vital that your entire company understand the difference between analysis and reporting and when each is appropriate. [3]

2. Create a Process. By creating an analytics based process, the data-driven approach moves from being an idea, to an actual comprehensive strategy. Companies can instill frameworks within their companies that can help employees better follow an analytical approach to their work.  Through repetition of these processes, analytics will become a daily part of employee’s lives. [4]

Photo Courtesy of : http://online-behavior.com/workshops/web-analytics

3. Start Small. Introducing a data-driven transformation can often seem overwhelming, especially if your company has not focused much on analysis in the past. In order to make the change less intimidating, it often works best to start small and “breakdown the ultimate victory into small wins.” Celebrate these wins and publicize them within the company. It is only a matter of time before the small wins start to grow into bigger wins that can ultimately help shape the culture and position of the company. [4]

4. Create Strong Relationships between Analysts, Marketing, and IT. In order to get the most bang for your buck with analytics, analysts, marketers, and IT personal should all work closely together and build off each other’s skill sets. By creating a work environment that facilitates strong relationships between these departments, companies will be able to receive the most comprehensive results from their analytics and create integrated goals and strategies for the company as a whole. [2]

5. Use Analytics to Tell your Story. Cultures are built around stories. Find a way to incorporate analytics to be a part of your company’s story. Celebrate analytic successes and showcase capabilities through storytelling with conviction. [1]

Hopefully some of these ideas will be insightful in transforming your organization’s culture into one that is focused on data-supported decision making and analysis. Do you have other ideas on how to create a data-focused culture? Please comment and share your thoughts. 

References:

1.         http://www.slideshare.net/jlovett/creating-a-culture-of-analytics
2.         http://www.morevisibility.com/analyticsblog/tag/web-analytics-culture
3.         http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/seven-steps-to-creating-a-data-driven-decision-making-culture/
4.         http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/analytics/switching-to-a-data-driven-culture/