Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Building your corporate digital analytics capability

As an organisation develops its digital understanding, you see certain trends and processes emerging. One of those is the increasing usage of digital analytics and increasing business reliance on the figures produced.

Digital analytics is now taken seriously as a business tool. From what was once a mainly geek-ish domain has emerged a significant service that can empower the business to make more rational or efficient decisions.  But just as other digital resources have grown (and grown-up) over time, the analytics resource in your organisation may well have grown too. If fact, making the point a bit stronger, if your web analytics team has not grown in size or depth in their understanding as the rest of your online capability has matured, you are probably missing something.

However… creating, scaling and keeping your web insight team is not an easy task.
Firstly positioning the team as just another marketing service is not the right approach. Having them regarded in the same light as a search engine optimisation or pay-per-click resource misses the point. This is not to take anything away from the SEO or PPC staff you might employ but the online analytics function is not just there to inform and maintain the current activity… but can also be used to feed insight back into your organisation too.

Creating the right online customer analysis and insight team structure depends a lot on the size & scale of your company. Most small companies do not have someone dedicated to this role (unless they are a digitally-focused business such as an eCommerce site) and even a lot of bigger companies combine the work of a web analytics function with other disciplines, and in a lot of cases this is digital marketing. It is therefore typically only much larger enterprises that can usually afford or utilise a dedicated person or persons in a digital analysis capacity.

Structuring this multi-person team can then be a little different from the way you might structure another digital functions. Although a lot depends on the types and quality of the individuals you hire. Just having a bunch of people who can all do the same things might not provide enough specialisation or focus… and analytics can quickly get into specifics. Some larger teams can range in skill-sets from more technical-orientated people through to business-based modellers who can pull trends and opportunities from complex data structures.

Keeping the team (aside from the effects of your own management style) can be the hardest thing to achieve. From my own experience there is currently a lack of decent experience digital analytics professionals out in the market right now. Quite frankly, we need more digital analytics experts. People with the right skills and experience are given far more choice about who and where they work, with many choosing a more lucrative career as a freelancer or consultant. Therefore holding on to good digital insight staff is crucial if your organisation is to you want to grow your capability and retain best practice knowledge.
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