Web Analytics maturity as I have experienced it

I wanted to write this post to reflect over the experience that I have had so far over web data maturity on an organizational level. To become a data driven organization is not the easiest thing in the world but reaching this level though will lead to success.

The figure below shows how I have experienced the data maturity process during my time as a Web Analyst.

Panic, panic we need to measure now!

We need to measure our online activity – The first step is when people start to realize that they are so big that they need to measure their online activity. This comes usually as a realization when upper management start asking some of the more basic questions such as, what do people do on our site. This when they install a web analytics tool.

 

Is this data true or are they trying to trick me?

Can we trust the data? – The second step is to ask about the data. Can we trust the data? Is this data accurate? What does unique browser mean, why are these not the same as unique IP from our log servers? This type of questions is typical in the second phase as I have experienced it.

 

I am so smart if I have many reports

We need reports lots of them – When people feel satisfied with the data validation they realize they need lots of reports. So the Web Analyst guy becomes a reporting guy. I can assure you this is a big waste of time of the web analyst competence. All reporting should be done automatically since there are so many great software out there that will do it more accurate than letting a person to do it.

 

This Web Analyst sucks! He gives me so much data I feel dumb

What should I do with all the numbers? -Now you have all numbers you could ever wish for. Actually you have more numbers than you can handle and you are asking yourself why you ever hired a Web Analyst in the first place. Relax, first you need to realize that less data is better. Depending on how experienced your web analyst is ask him to only give you the minimum amount of data that is valid only for taking decisions on. Ask him also to give you his input on what to do since you will move a lot faster to the next level.

 

Wait a minute, maybe I should keep my Web Analyst, maybe I should promote him

Now I understand the numbers, how do I act? – The aha-experience hits you and you know how to interpret the numbers. You start asking the right questions and now you want to do something to improve your web business. You start looking at optimization.

 

My Web Analyst is gold worth, now I can get that promotion and bonus I was promised

How do we optimize? – Optimization is the nirvana of web analytics; it gives you the tool to do act. You start doing AB testing. This a small field in itself and there are several steps involved to have a good program in place but if you get here, you should be happy.

 

My boss said he promote me only if I can make our whole organization more effective

We need to coordinate our actions – Now that you feel comftable with split testing you move your horizon on an organizational level. So far usually only a few people within the organization reaches this level. The next step, which is rather hard, is to make your whole organization harvest the insights of good web analytics and AB testing.

 

I got the promotion now I sit on the board of directors helping them make strategic decisions based on the data

Let us use our data for strategic decisions – When you accomplish the previous task, which might take a long time to do, the insight will reach high level persons, people that want to use the data for strategic purposes, such as acquisitions and business development. This level is where you want to be in, only now you can title your organization as data savvy.

 

Now everyone needs the data all the time

How do we make the data on demand? – The next natural development is to make business critical data on demand. Each position needs their own set of data and therefore the web analyst plays a central role to be able to define the needs into data. You probably need to make investment in analytics tools for this level.

 

I think I am a rock star

Are we using data to make decisions all over? – People make decisions on data, congratulations you reached the highest web maturity level.

 

Everything we touch turns into gold

We are gaining market share – When you have climbed all the steps you reach the final goal, where you see increased market share and higher revenues.