The Web Analytics Business Process
I gave my presentation at Emetrics yesterday, outlining my thoughts about what I call the “Web Analytics Business Process” to a packed room. The response I got was tremendous and I spent the rest of the day talking with very bright people from a diverse assemblage of companies about how the Web Analytics Business Process manifests, how they can begin to diagram their own Web Analytics Business Processes and even discussing how the process has already driven success in companies that have something very similar.
I was asked by several people to make the presentation publicly available and hope to do so next week. If you’re interested in getting a copy, watch this weblog.
A few good questions emerged from the Q&A sessions and are worth addressing in a forum that allows comments to spur conversation.
- Megan Burns from Forrester Research, who has a great deal of experience implementing CMM in software development, wisely commented that she had seen software companies generate reams of process diagrams that ultimately became “shelfware” and failed to provide the level of guidance and aherence to process desired. She asked me how companies could avoid that problem when deploying the Web Analytics Business Process.
- One of my competitors, and I got this secondhand from a blogger, insisted that “process was wasteful in web analytics” and that all companies needed were “a few quick wins, made by clearing off the low-hanging fruit” and that these wins would drive the entire organization to tightly adopt web analytics.
Megan’s experience in this regard certainly surpasses my own, at least in terms of CMM and business process in the software development model. I don’t disagree that there is some risk associated with documenting business processes, risk that the excercise is only that, an excercise, and that the results are quickly set aside to respond to the next fire drill. But in my experience, the adoption of the Web Analytics Business Process will push companies in the right direction and encourage them to think about web analytics as something you do on an ongoing basis, not something you do once and awhile.
I conceeded that yeah, someday people might have reams of Web Analytics Business Process diagrams sitting on a shelf somewhere, perhaps next to an old copy of WebTrends Log Analyzer, collecting dust. But I firmly believe that the process of getting to a point where the dust can be collected is extremely valuable.
Regarding the wisdom of eschewing process and instead looking for “quick hits” and “early wins” based on identifying low-hanging fruit I can only offer this: The Web Analytics Business Process is designed to provide a framework for turning short-term insights such as these into long-term, repeatable results. As such, there is no inconsistency in the two approaches but I strongly believe any vendor/consultant telling your organization that you can do web analytics without considering the process of “doing” web analytics simply doesn’t get it.
Why do I think this? Simply because we’ve already been through all of this. THERE ARE NO SILVER BULLETS! Web analytics is work, work that people and organizations need to approach in a systematic way. If you still believe, now, in 2006, that deploying any web analytics solution, regardless of price, will somehow dramatically change your online business without consideration of how the solution will be integrated into your existing business processes, you’re simply not paying attention to how we’ve arrived at where we are as an industry today.
Yes, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit that needs to be cleared. Yes, that low-hanging fruit being cleared, in many instances, will drive organizational excitement about web analytics. But yes, I do firmly believe based on my personal experience in the web analytics marketplace, that in order for this excitement to be sustained, companies need to think strategically about web analytics.
I welcome and encourage your comments on this subject and as I mention earlier, I hope to have an annotated copy of my presentation available for download sometime in the next few weeks.