Web Analytics Journey Index (WAJ)

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Web AnalyticsThis morning, I was surfing through different blogs to get some insights about people’s thoughts on the eMetrics Summit. Aurélie and I just attended it. It was a great event. Jim, I think it’s the best investment I’ve done this year! And I must admit that we’re still digesting… ;-)

While surfing Technorati, I saw on Robin’s blog a title that quickly cached my attention: “eMetrics Summit: Eric Peterson vs. Matt Belkin“. When I saw the title, I was intrigued to read the content
The post describes the different views of Eric that has proposed processes as the next Web Analytics next ‘hot topic’ versus Matt defending the importance of quick wins.
I agree with Jim and Chris, both opinions can coexist. But I think that Eric’s point is much more important and that the market was expecting some guidance from Eric, as he has been doing in the past, with his great books and other initiatives. So thanks Eric, as Aurélie and I believe that you were right on the spot. After your presentation, her comment was: ‘this really makes sense’ ;-)

After reading Robin’s post, I came up with a formula that I wanted to share with you:

Web Analytics Journey Index (WAJ):

W x (C x (D+S)) x P = WAJ Index

Quick Wins x (Curiosity x (Discussion + Sharing)) x Processes = Web Analytics Journey Index

The items of this formula should be considered as your Web Analytics Journey Objectives. Let’s look more closely to the formula items objectives that will help you in succeeding your Web Analytics Journey ;-) :

* Get a few quick wins to get attention
* Be curious & discuss & share knowledge
* Set-up processes

  1. Get a few quick wins to get attention:
    When you start a Web Analytics project, you need to find some quick wins to have a sponsor in the Board (if they seem hard to find get some external help to get them). This will give you some immunization for a certain time. But be careful as this won’t last forever if you don’t deliver more results!
    I don’t think that the continuous pursue of quick wins is the right path. As some comments say in Robin’s post, one day there won’t be more quick wins to find.
    And then what? My recommendation is that you need to go to towards objective 2 (see below) before you can’t get quick wins easily (ideally as soon as you have gotten the attention of the Board) to avoid the frustration and long term failure.
  2. Be curious, discuss & share knowledge:
    Remember that Web Analytics takes time, as we like to say (and Eric & Xavier also):
    There’s no silver bullet!

    It’s important, once you get attention at the start, to increase the internal knowledge in order to get to more complex issues afterwards and deliver the real results.
    If you’re not curious you won’t get this stage done and you will never get any near to what Jim called Enlightenment in the London’s eMetrics Summit.
    Web Analytics from our perspective can only be achieved by clever and curious people!
    Regarding the knowledge, you need to read books (as Eric’s), Web Analytics Blogs and White Papers, but most of all DISCUSS & SHARE on a continuous basis!
    * Discuss with your business colleagues. Understand what their objectives are and if you are a smart guy, you will discover how you can best help them;
    * Discuss with your IT colleagues. Without them you will get nowhere. Remember Jim’s presentation with Dilbert or Robin’s presentation, if you attended eMetrics 2006 in Washington;
    * Discuss with your Web Analytics provider. Whether they are Vendors or a Web Analytics Agency treat them as partners, not providers. You need them on your side! Pick their brains as the product is just 10% (Avinash’s rule 90/10). For example, at OX2 we allow our clients to pay us a dinner from time to time to discuss about their Web Analytics. I must admit that around a nice table, with a good bottle of wine, together with the client, we brainstorm towards very interesting new fields of action;
    * Discuss with the Web Analytics community: you have plenty of opportunities as the Yahoo Group, the many Blogs out there, get a membership of the Web Analytics Association and of course attend the eMetrics Summit near you!
    * And don’t forget to share all that you have learned with all the people I mentioned in this list! We live in the 2.0 world in which sharing is the common denominator ;-)
  3. Set-up processes:
    As I mentioned, Eric is really right on spot with processes (Read his post and download his presentation if you haven’t done it yet). You need to define simple processes. Very important also: these processes must be kept resilient.
    Remember that today’s world changes all the time so please don’t expect your processes to last years! Use a flexible tool to represent them. This will allow you to change them, when needed, in a matter of minutes and empower the resilience of your projects and thus of your organization.

  4. Bonus objective: Analysis:
    You’ll see that once you are a bit advanced in my second point, you will be able to make the difference between Reporting and Analysis. As Avinash presented at eMetrics:
    Reporting = providing data. How many of you don’t know a company using Web Analytics just to report number of visits and basic stuff every month to management…?
    Analysis = providing insights. This is where the hard stuff starts. It’s only if you’re very serious that you will get to this stage and as Avinash says: it’s your choice! So please if you call us or any other Web Analytics specialist, make your choice first, it will save us lots of time and frustration ;-)

Getting back to the formula it allows you to rank yourself in the Web Analytics Journey and measure your progress overtime.

How to use the WAJ Index Formula?

In as scale 1 to 5 (where 1 = poor 5 = perfection) rank the different items (W, C, D, S & P) and do your math. The ideal objective would be, to quote Jim again, to get to the enlightenment stage. In the formula this stage is represented by the maximum you can score in this index: 1250.

Get a little graph where the horizontal axis represents time and the vertical represents the index value up to the maximum: 1250. Then you may want every month or so to measure your index allowing you to follow up your progress.

I think I’m going to use it internally to rank my different clients and see if the ranking matches our thoughts ;-) I’ll keep you posted on that.

To conclude on the formula, here is the recap of the action points you need to focus on:

  • Get attention from your board
  • Get knowledge through continuous discussion
  • Share it internally and externally with your partners to ensure adhesion and efficient collaboration
  • Once you get adhesion you’re ready to set-up processes
  • And don’t forget during this journey to choose! Do you want reporting or analysis?

But don’t get me wrong this is not the holly grail. It’s meant to be a good start. Web Analytics is a perpetual process and other things need to be put in place to get it right, as for example actions and responsibilities & accountability.

Actions bring the results: Analysis without actions is like letting a man without arms drive a car (he can see but can’t drive). It can be so deadly frustrating! The actions can be of all kinds: simple copy or design changes, system changes, external data integration to get better insights, a/b testing or mvt, …

Responsibilities & accountability: Often, this is never addressed by companies. Not only there’s a need for responsibility in Web Analytics but also accountability! So first, make someone responsible of Web Analytics inside your organization. But don’t expect accountability, as it wouldn’t be fair, if you put in charge of Web Analytics a trainee or a young newbee that no one knows and respects in your organization. Please, choose someone that can get his voice heard, otherwise you’re just going to build up a new Web Analytics frustrated professional, and there are already too many out there (WAFP, sounds like when you’re bored ;-)). In addition, if you don’t select the right person, you can put a cross on collaboration and adhesion from the rest of the company to the actions that need to be undertaken thanks to the Insights. You won’t get the potential results!

So what do you think? Agree? Don’t agree? Something to add? Please share it with the community ;-)

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9 Responses to “Web Analytics Journey Index (WAJ)”

  1. Avinash Kaushik Says:

    Rene: This is a brilliant framework, very well thought out. It is something that we can easily apply internally in our company in a environment where there are multiple websites and multiple business units who are at different levels of the journey. Thanks for sharing this excellent framework, I am going to steal it from you! : )

    -Avinash.

  2. René Dechamps Otamendi Says:

    Hi Avinash,

    Thanks your encouragement. And please, feel free to use it internally at Intuit. My aim was to share the idea. If it can be of any service to anyone, I’ll be more than happy (enen more if it can help a leading Web Analytics end user company as Intuit ;-)).

    Keep me posted on how you use it and if you have refined the formula. I think that if you want to use it internally it’s important to use the same logic when rating the different items. As the ranking 1-5 is subjective I think that the best is that the same person ranks the different departments to allow comparisons afterwards.

    René

  3. Web analytics Blog Digest - Web Analytics Journey Index (WAJ) Says:

    [...] The items of this formula should be considered as your Web Analytics Journey Objectives. Let’s look more closely to the formula items objectives that will help you in succeeding your Web Analytics Journey ;-) : … Posted by René Dechamps OtamendiGood article i think.Link to original article [...]

  4. Eric T. Peterson Says:

    Rene,

    I agree with Avinash, you’ve presented a very compelling (if not moderately complex) framework.

    The one thing that is disappointing to me is that part of this conversation was framed by Robbin as an “Eric Peterson vs.” someone else conflict. I strongly disagree with the Omniture representative’s assessment that “process is unnecessary” (I believe he later tried to anonymously blog on my web site calling me “irrelevant”) and I’m disappointed that as an industry we’re not better able to take advantage of your work, my work, Avinash’s work, etc. because of a vocal minority insisting that “they’re right and everyone else is wrong …”

    My personal consternation aside, I was delighted to see that (Discussion + Sharing) are factored into your equation and I have a cloudy-but-resolving vision of how your math applies to all of us–the web analytics community, not just individual businesses. Discussion and sharing is why I wrote my books, why I founded the Yahoo! group, why I founded Web Analytics Wednesday, and why I keep trying to push the boundaries of what we understand and how we do our jobs. I personally don’t believe that there ** is ** a “secret sauce” to doing web analytics, only understanding, effort, desire and focus … all things that either arise from or are aided by process. The Web Analytics Business Process …

    Keep me posted as you refine this work as I hope to do a great deal of writing on the second edition of Web Analytics Demystified over the holidays. Hopefully this can be refined enough for inclusion in the new book.

    Sincerely,

    Eric T. Peterson

    http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/weblog

  5. benry Says:

    Great post Rene. Provides a lot of clarity to the discussion. I’ll be leveraging this for certain in our efforts to establish a better “process”.

    Moving web analytics into our organization has been helped by the quick wins, so I was glad to see these included. But long-term it is not sustainable.

    The challenge in moving forward the Web Analytics Business Process (WABP) is, in my opinion, the capacity and desire of organizations to move in this direction and the ability of groups within these organizations to get this on the radar. Most of us don’t have “teams” of people and most of us can’t afford “teams” of people to execute. On the flip side, most of us can’t afford not to move in this direction. Guess it is a choice of being a smart or irrelevant organization.

    – Scott

  6. René Dechamps Otamendi Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for taking the time or reading my long post and writing your thoughts.
    Sorry for your disappointment. I’m 100% with you, I think that process is essential if you want it to happen. As you mentioned in your eMetrics presentation in corporations everybody tends to think that ‘it was someone else’s job/responsibility’. So yes, process are essential in order to ensure a Web Analytics success that won’t be just based on quick wins. As Scott says, quick wins are not sustainable in the long-term (thanks for that).
    I’m glad you like the ‘Discussion + Share’ part. I wanted it to be the central piece of my Index along with Curiosity.
    We have seen too many times companies that think, that just by having a great tool and set-it up, it will produce wonders (the silver bullet or secret sauce everybody expects). But things aren’t that way, the key is knowledgde but in today’s changing world ‘great knowledge’ can only be reached through Discussion and Sharing. And no product can deliver you that, it’s only also through curiosity as you told Aurélie and I during the VS demo, this later term completes my knowledge item (Cx(D+S)).
    And please use the Index if you like it. It’s there for that: Discussion + Sharing (and you’ve proven to deserve it as you’ve been curious enough to read it until the end ;-)).

    Scott,

    Thanks for your comments. When reading it, I just started to think about BPR (Business Process Reengineering). It’s been a year that Aurélie wonders about BPR and how WA is going somehow towards that. As we’ve seen at eMetrics Web Analytics can bring you Insights. And with these Insights the organizations will become truly resilient and will be able to conduct BPR projects based on real, in-depth analysis. Not just some vertical best practices that might not work in your case. Every company is it’s own world and I don’t believe that the same recipe (or sauce ;-)) will work for all of them.

    Regarding not having ‘teams’ of people, don’t desperate. There are very few companies that have more than a person (and most often not even full time), dedicated to Web Analytics. It will come. Years ago Internet was something a marketeer managed along with other channels. Nowadays you have more and more people dedicated to the Internet (or a part of it) within organizations. At OX2 we have a team of 4 dedicated Web Analytics professionals but this is only possible because we work with many clients. To reassure you, I don’t have any client having this kind of dedication internally.
    With market maturity, CEOs and mostly CFOs will understand the real ROI when investing in dedicated Web Analytics resources, then you’ll see Web Analytics Professionals community to enlarge all of a sudden (and we finally won’t feel that alone ;-)).

    René

  7. S.Hamel Says:

    I think this is a great post! It implies that “you” are the person seeking to bring the web analytics practices to an employer. I would add that if you were just introduced to metrics and web analytics, you should seek an individual or a firm to help you out. In which case, you could add a multiplicative factor that will significantly increase your chances of success!

    I especially like the part of the formula “(Curiosity x (Discussion + Sharing))” because, I believe, this part reflect the human expertise and willingness factor of the equation, while Quick Wins and Processes might sound, for some (although it’s not!), just a recipe to follow.

    Quick Wins are important, but like in any business or personal endeavor, quick wins should be part of a larger and greater plan!

  8. OX2's involvement following Jim Sterne's presentation at Emetrics London & San Francisco « WebAnalytics.be Blog Says:

    [...] no correct answer, I believe that this is a matter of where your company is in his Web Analytics Journey (WAJ). As all gurus say: Web Analytics is not easy. It is thus important to do it the right way [...]

  9. Google Analytics, Microsoft Gatineau & OX2's Web Analytics Code of Ethics « WebAnalytics.be Blog Says:

    [...] if in your organisation there isn’t already a product or knowledge that could facilitate the Web Analytics Journey. Once we have all the information we need, we then preselect a few Web Analytics packages that [...]

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