Throughout my analytics career, I have worked with countless companies around the world; companies of every size, and from every imaginable industry. And yet, despite their differences, many of them forget the two most important words in analytics: “early” and “often”.
To explain, I come from a software development background, specifically web development, where projects and deadlines are controlled by a number of individuals and groups, each with different interests and agendas (i.e. - product management, marketing, IT, etc.). When a new web site or application is being planned, everyone puts a great deal of thought into the various aspects of the application. The two main considerations made during development are:
There’s just one problem: applications are usually designed inside a corporate ‘vacuum’, with a small group of people making all the decisions regarding the two considerations I mentioned above. How, then, can we ensure that the average Internet user who sees your site or application will answer “Yes” to the questions above? The answer, of course, is analytics. Unfortunately, many companies fail to include an analytics implementation as part of their application project until very late in the development cycle – and some fail to include it at all. This results in an incomplete or non-existent picture of how the application is being used, where its strong points are, and where improvements could be made. Launching a new site or application without a strong analytics framework in place is akin to a hearing-impaired person standing in a quiet but crowded room, facing away from everyone and shouting, “Can anyone hear me?” It’s critical to include analytics in the plan for any site or application development project, to clearly understand and document the application’s key performance indicators (KPIs), and to ensure that marketing and IT/development work closely together to build an analytics framework that delivers value to the organization.
Similarly, even the best analytics implementations lose their value over time because – surprise! – the business changes and evolves, but the analytics framework is not updated to reflect these evolutions. Maintaining a good analytics framework does not need to be labor-intensive if it’s planned well, but it is most definitely an ongoing process. In my experience, the companies that are most successful in their use of analytics to make critical business decisions have found that success because they continually review and update their analytics implementation to ensure that it is up to date with current and relevant business objectives.
When working with clients at Stratigent, my goal is to help the client understand their business better and to enable them to make data-driven decisions. By keeping my mantra “early and often” at the front of your mind, I hope that you too will find greater value in your analytics solution. If you would like more information on how Stratigent can help your organization become truly data-driven, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.