Friday, January 18, 2013

Digital Corporate Culture

The website of an organization has been a real game changer. Since the late nineties, organizations have been presenting themselves to the world through a website. At one extreme they have done a poor job and at the other, their entire existence is based on their website and they are thriving. Out of this digital presence can come a mountain of data.

The question is what to do with all of the information that can come from a website. Many organizations simply ignore it. They put up a website and feel that their job is done. They are ignorant as to what they could learn from web analytics. In other cases they are too busy to focus on web analytics or perhaps they don’t want to allocate the resources necessary to analyze. A few organizations understand the value that can come from true web analytics. These organizations approach web analytics as a key factor for decision making and it drives their success.

How do you get a great website? Great developers and designers are essential but without digital analytics it will be unlikely that you will hit a home run. Organizations that have not yet embraced web analytics are missing out on a wealth of guidance.

For organizations that have not incorporated digital analytics into their culture there is hope. So how do they become a data centered team? The answer is the same as it is with so many other initiatives; it starts at the top. Leadership needs to drive decision making based on facts derived from data analysis. Convincing an organization to shift its way of decision making can be difficult but it is possible. Analysts can provide information that can be easily tested and proven. Decision making based on prior experience or intuition is a very expensive way of doing business today and can rarely capture the full opportunity of a digital presence.

The book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis is an excellent example of how to transform a business using analysis; analysis that is often very unconventional. In the book, the statistical analysis turned the conventional statistics upside down and allowed an organization, the Oakland A’s, to compete with organizations that were much larger and better funded.

In his article entitled Seven Steps to Creating a Data Driven Decision Making Culture, Avinash Kaushik encourages organizations to make digital analytics a Business function instead of an IT function. This is especially true with modern analytic tools that require less technical experience and can be effectively used by business users. Kaushik also recommends the pursuit of real insights instead of just reports which in effect are just more data.


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