For those of you who do not know Jim Sterne (Who doesn’t know Jim Sterne?), I like to call him the Godfather of Web Analytics. In the WA Industry you have Gurus, Vendors, Consultants and Practitionners, but only one Godfather and that’s Jim Sterne (if you want a proof just view this).
Jim has been in the Web Analytics since it exists. He has not only written about it (you may read for example a very interesting White Paper he wrote in 2000 with Matt Cutler or buy one of his books at Amazon). He has also been the creator and responsible of the Emetrics Summit, the must attend event around Web Analytics that happens 4 times a year (Mmmm, rumors say that he will expanding his operations shortly, so keep up visiting http://www.emetrics.org). The Emetrics Summit are 2 to 3 days events that take place in the US and Europe allowing Web Analytics professionals not only to attend astonishing and outstanding presentation, but also network in order to exchange ideas and points of view.
Jim’s views on the Web Analytics team:
Last Year, during his keynote speach, Jim described the different competences needed in a Web Analytics team:
- The IT, represented by Dilbert
- The statistician represented by Newton
- The designer (with an ear ring), that get’s transformed into a scientist
- Someone from the business (money)
The Web Analyst (or the responsible of Web Analytics, or the WA Homo Sapiens as Aurélie likes to call it), needed to interact with these people in order to bring not only insights, but also in order to bring changes that would in the end make more succesful the internet activities of the company.
This year I was curious to see what Jim would present. Would it be something radically different?
Besides the presentation that was radically different from a design point of view (a big improvement for the Audience, thanks Jim), this year presentation was an organic evolution of last year’s. As the Web gets more important inside organisations, the scope of WA enlarges and the role of the Web Analytics Homo Sapiens also gets a bit more complicated.
This was made very clear when Jim spoke again about the competences inside the Web Analytics team and this year it was a lot more complex, but it really makes sense as it is the organic evolution from last year. So this year’s profiles are:
- Very smart guy hyper mathematical oriented (Stephen)
- Personas – Information Architecture responsible (Frank)
- Artist: someone that does the design (Vincent)
- Somebody that keeps everything pluged in (Dilbert)
- Someone that likes to experiment (Victor & Igor)
- Someone how good at listening, listen the voice of the customer (Nipper)
- Somebody that can do the data mining (Cole) someone that finds the correlations
- Somebody that understands people (Sigmund)
- Someone that runs the assembly line, that makes sure that everything works, there are outcomes, etc… (Henry)
Web Analytics reality in Europe (and not only):
There’s not a team yet, so Insource or Outsource?
Getting back to the Web Analytics Homo Sapiens, in many cases (at least it’s what we see in Europe), WA is given to a young guy/gall that’s not very well paid and dosen’t get much attention from the upper management. But this is changing and we see more and more companies requesting senior Web Analystics Managers (there was an interesting ad the Yahoo Groups asking recently for a Web Analytics Team Leader, the position that for example Avinash had at Intuit before becoming an independant consultant). Behind this Web Analytics Team Leader (WATL), there are different profiles and this WATL needs to interact with and these profiles can be internal or external (most often both).
So, not easy to find this kind of person… I wouldn’t like to be a HR consultant having to find this rare bird 😉
This is one thing: finding this person is not easy.
But let’s asume that you’ve managed to find it how are you going to do next?
From what Jim describes you need a full team to manage this properly, and let’s face it very few organisations are at this stage willing to invest that much in internal ressources.
Web Analytics Outsourcing: a beginning
So this brings me to OX2. I believe that the role of OX2 is to help these WATL. The basic idea is that our team will help the WATL of our clients. At first they will outsource many competences, but little by little, these organizations will see the benefits of Web Analytics and accountability and will start staffing. When this will happen, we will still be there, but for more high level or complicated tasks as for examples provide support through our ticketing system.
So what does make more sense outsource or insource?
There’s 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 when starting. So if you’re starting with Web Analytics, outsourcing might be a good idea (but please have at least someone internally that we can train and feed with knowledge). Little by little your company will evolve in his WAJ and staffing will be the perfect move, and we will be here to make sure that these new hires go the right way. In the end, you will end up with an internal team as Avinash managed inside Intuit, and you will be more or less independant in your Web Analytics Journey.
So what do you think? Does this make any sense to you? Do you disagree?
Please comment below, and as Robbin would say, we always love an argument 😉