At the Emetrics summit, Eric Peterson argued for the need for a “Web Analytics Business Process”. I didn’t see Eric’s presentation* as I had made the difficult choice to attend another track. And although nothing beats being in the room, having read , Marshall Sponder’s and Robbin Steif’s** posts, here’s my take.
I agree with Eric. Process is needed. Process defines RACI :- who is Responsible, Accountable, to be Consulted and Informed. Process isn’t just about process diagrams. The process (there’s that word again!) of creating the diagrams clarifies who’s on the hook and for what and that’s the benefit of documentation. Laying out the process, printing the map, documenting RACI and getting sign-off should create agreement about the work to be done and who’s going to do it.
When there isn’t an agreed-upon process, people forget and you have situations such as described by Tim Goudie of Coca-Cola…Because of tagging errors, “we lost one month’s worth of data!”
I also disagree with Eric. There is a downside to creating a “new” business process called the Web Analytics Process. Selecting Web analytics tools (one of Eric’s slides) should be a distinct process. However, setting up a specific named process for the measurement of content production makes “Web Analytics” an outcome or product of the process. Named processes sometimes take on a life of their own. As I posted on One Degree, Web Analytics isn’t an end, it’s a means to an end.
Since analytics is all too often an add-on, creating a distinct Web Analytics Process could exacerbate this common occurence. If analytics is positioned as a separate process, analytics will probably continue to be “forgotten”.
Instead of a Web Analytics Business Process, I would rather up the ante of the online content/application production process, whether it’s search or site or email (or ads, podcasts, videos…). Integrating facets of the Web analytics process into the online content production process and scorecarding the execution of this broader integrated process will lead to longer-term success and a more entrenched measurement culture.
It is unfortunate that the flowcharts and talk of documentation in Eric’s presentation seem to have garnered all the attention, burying the benefits of describing and aligning on the process. When aligning on the process, you’ll be training all the other members of the online team about Web analytics, and they’ll have to understand it to sign off on the enhanced process.
* You can get a copy of Eric’s presentation.
What do you think?
**Destination page no longer exists