IT responsibles taking the lead in Web Analytics?


After the first day of the Emetrics Summit, I was struck by the position held by some speakers within their respective companies.

Of course, there were consultants and web analytics specialists attending the conference such as Siegert and myself or specialists involved in email marketing, SEO and so forth but in terms of end users, the titles I found on the presentations were actually not those that I had imagined.

Our clients are usually MARCOM responsibles but we often find we continue to struggle with their lack of technical knowledge. Web Analytics remains a particular field that brings together both business aspects as well as technical knowledge and requires collaboration between different departments, amongst which IT is not a dispensible factor!

The first day of the Emetrics summit presented a project set-up by exquisite Eileen Pevreall, IT Director of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The next day, Tim Boughton, CTO of opened the morning session with interesting insights upon his findings. When I look at all those speakers that are end users or leaders with respect to the WA projects, only Patricia Gildea from npower ltd. is part of a MARCOM team and she holds high technical skills!

Since the beginning of the Internet, I've witnessed cross department e-commerce teams that were set-up after that the Internet had been taken away from internal IT departments that were fidling around with html pages and measuring hits. These cross teams have, after some years and in most companies now integrated MARCOM departments. It's not the case with all companies but I'd say 80% of what I see today on the Benelux market.

Aurélie Pols explaining the links between Web Analytics, IT & BusinessThe issue now is to find the right person for your companies' Web Analytics project. What I called back in November of 2005 during our first Web Analytics Day in Brussels the WA homo sapiens, listing the following qualities:

  • business minded, either marketing background or strong interest;
  • technically savy, some HTML coding/Web development experience. I'd today add to that a consistant knowledge of CMS and emailing solutions as well as understanding of SEO/SEM, PPC, Adservers, etc. related to traffic acquisition;
  • strong demonstrated history of working with cross-funtional teams;
  • senior enough to be heard within the organisation.

And I'm not even here touching the sphere of business analysis, which is after all the real end user as (s)he is the one analysing and interpreting the data in order to help define further the online strategy.
Another aspect not taken into account here is channel integration. Ideally, information should be streamlined in order to include data from all channels, not only online as more bridges are being build between online and offline communication.

Clearly someone has to lead and probably sitting within the MARCOM department doesn't always give enough credibility when talking to your IT colleagues. On the other hand, business is what it's all about so IT can't have it all either. My mind was turned towards some kind of centralised Business Intelligence team but up until now, I've still not come across one that was truely functioning.

So, IT after all?


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