Google Analytics, Microsoft Gatineau & OX2’s Web Analytics Code of Ethics

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badge_visit_google_rene.jpgDuring Emetrics San Francisco I had the opportunity to visit Google (I’ll blog about that in the coming days) and to have a look at the alpha version of Gatineau. This made me want to emphasize and explain our Code of Ethics as independent consultants.

But before I get into that let’s explain a little bit more:

Google Analytics:
Google Analytics logo As you might have read, our team had been testing the new version of Google Analytics for over a month before its release and we were very excited by the future launch. As I had signed an NDA, I haven’t talked to anybody outside OX2 about this release. Julien described GA version 2’s new features in two previous posts (first & second) and detailed where improvements have taken place.

Gatineau:

gatineau_logo.jpgAlso during the conference, Ian Thomas offered Aurélie and I a demo of Gatineau, the code name for the upcoming Web Analytics tool that will be released by Microsoft around this summer – in beta version. As you might imagine, I have also signed an NDA before the demo, so I won’t be able to enter into specifics (sorry ;-)). But what I can tell you is that we are excited about this upcoming release as it will again allow the Web Analytics industry to go a step further and, hopefully, it will drive more businesses towards accountability (read my previous post about Microsoft and Web Analytics). What I can also tell you is that Gatineau is the code name, so expect a brand new name when it will be released. Through this post I want to wish Ian and his team good luck in the future release. If you’re interested in participating in the beta version of Gatineau, you can already apply by sending email to: gat-beta@microsoft.com

Our Web Analytics Code of Ethics

EthicsThat being said, you might wonder how can we work with so many different Web Analytics products and still have the confidence and trust of their management?
Well, this can be explained by our positioning, philosophy and code of ethics:

Our Web Analytics positioning regarding vendors:

We position ourselves as vendor-independent in the Web Analytics Industry. But don’t get me wrong, being independent is not the same as being agnostic. Being agnostic means that you don’t have any kind of preferred relationship with vendors whereas being independent, IMHO, means that you don’t work for vendors but with vendors.

Our objective is to best serve our clients. For this, we need to best understand the tools and this is why we partner with Web Analytics vendors. In order to provide the best advice, we need to understand and know the product in detail.

Let me give you an example of consultancy that we do more and more for our clients:
Corporations come to us and tell us that they want to acquire a Web Analytics product. We all know that just a product won’t solve any business question but, nevertheless, it is important to choose right depending on what kind of company you are, the people inside and many other factors. So we start by interviewing the client (in one or multiple meetings, depending on complexity and number of actors) in order to understand their needs, we also take a look at their history with Web Analytics. As I commented on Avinash’s post Web Analytics Tools Comparison: A Recommendation, you have to see 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 match the needs of the clients. We contact the vendors in order to get some quotes and we provide the client with a final document in which we explain our methodology, what are the business and technical needs that we have highlighted in their company. Based on these needs we then present the selected products each with a description and a personalized SWOT analysis along with the pricing for the solution and an idea of implementation costs (this often includes also business KPIs and Dashboards implementation and some even include Processes). It is then the client that either chooses one tool or decides to invite vendors to learn more about their solution and maybe negotiate a POC (Proof of concept) in which we are very often involved.

Our Web analytics vendors relationship philosophy:

Regarding our philosophy towards vendors, we think that we need to work together, not in the sense that we work for them as I have expressed earlier, but in the sense that we need each other in the Web Analytics ecosystem. A company like OX2 needs WA tools in order to deliver to our clients the consultancy services we provide, and vendors need us in order to help their customers to use their tool at the maximum potential. So we encourage vendors not only to present us what they’re going to release and what are their plans to better serve our customers, we also encourage them to pick our brains. We are in the field, we work with many different clients and by being an interactive agency (not only a WA consultancy firm) we see the other aspects of the Web that might have consequences in a Web Analytics implementation process. But don’t get me wrong, picking our brains doesn’t mean that we will speak about other products, as we believe that it’s each vendor homework to understand his competition and adapt if needed their strategy, which leads me to our code of Ethics that Aurélie presented a few months ago here on our blog.

Our Web Analytics code of ethics principles:

  1. Don’t do product demos (or provide product information) to competitors as vendors should do their own home work;
  2. Respect leads: any lead coming from vendors will be solemnly respected;
  3. Respect the client: don’t support them to change solutions if it’s not in their best interest, short and long term.

If you are an independent consultant or Web Analytics agency and you subscribe to this code of ethics, please let me know and feel free to reuse it to explain you positionning. And if you have any comment, question or critique, please leave us a comment.

René

8 Responses to “Google Analytics, Microsoft Gatineau & OX2’s Web Analytics Code of Ethics”

  1. Ian Thomas Says:

    Nice post, Rene. I think your code of ethics makes very good sense. I guess that’s why you wouldn’t tell me any Google Analytics secrets, no matter how hard I tried!🙂

    Cheers,
    Ian

  2. Dennis R. Mortensen Says:

    Hi Rene,

    Absolutely a wonderful and very thoughtful post – I would even (when you have the time), move this up and into the WAA as a set of even more concise procedures. But may I at the same time suggest that you add in the opposite code of conduct. (I think it would be self serving I started to suggest anything). This as in a Web Analytics Vendor code of ethics principles – remember; most vendors provide YOUR services as in “Consulting”, not me though, and that takes ethics to stay on the rightful path.

    Cheers..

    Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools
    My Web Analytics Blog – …And learn how to Use Web Analytics to determine the width of your Internal Search Query box

  3. René Dechamps Otamendi Says:

    Hi Ian, glad you liked it. I just wanted to stress that it was Aurélie who came up with our Code of Ethics 3 months ago. She’s the brains and I’m just the PR/Sales guy remember?😉

    Dennis, you’re right that there should be a counter part from the vendors. In November last year I wrote a small post explaining exactly this idea: https://webanalytics.wordpress.com/2006/11/24/deontology-codes-for-the-web-analytics-industry/

    At San Francisco the Sunday prior to Emetrics, I had a very interesting conversation regarding ethics and codes of conducts for the Industry with Aurélie, Jim, Eric, Joseph, Brian and Dave. I expressed the need for such a code of conduct. Jim proposed that it should maybe be compulsory for all members, but I think that it could be something on top of the WAA membership that could provide the person/company following the principles some kind of label that he could present in his website.

    As there are different actors in this Industry there’s a need for different codes, and believe me when I say that there’s a need, I’ve seen things since we started doing Web Analytics that are completely counter productive for the Industry in he long term. We are still at the beginning of this Industry and its future depends only on us and how for example we can set-up rules of conduct that will bring trust not only from all the parties involved, but also from legislators as people tend to describe our activities as a ‘Big Brother’ thing.
    So the codes of conduct that I see necessary are:

    Vendors
    – Code of conduct towards their partners (agencies)
    – Code of conduct towards their clients (end users)
    – Code of conduct towards other vendors (I’m not that sure about this one)

    Consultancy firms
    – Code of conduct towards vendors (as the one I’ve explained earlier)
    – Code of conduct towards clients

    Practitioners
    – Code of conduct towards their employers (here I’m thinking for example of a rule in which the practitioner needs always to be honest and trustful when reporting internally)

    Educators
    – Code of conduct towards their ‘pupils’ (As they have a great responsibility on how the Industry in going to evolve, it’s important that they give proper and non biased education).

    That Sunday also I had the opportunity to speak with Bob Page who’s now in charge of setting up a task force within the WAA to address privacy/ethics concerns and try to set-up a global code of conduct about what can be done and what not (this is more on the tracking side, use of cookies, etc…). I think that this task force could also look into the codes of conducts expressed above, or should we create a specific task force for this? What do you think Bob?

    But well, I might just be a little bit naive, but I really believe that WA can bring transparency and accountability and thus allow better decisions. It is in our hand to reshape the way many business decisions are taken nowadays. And this can only happen if there’s 100% of confidence and trust among all the parties involved. We (WA Industry members) need to be the first ones that can describe themselves as accountable!

    Does this makes sense to you dear reader or is it just me?

    René

  4. S.Hamel Says:

    Hi René, you inspired me to post my own code of ethics covering three different angles: my involvement in the web analytics community, my blog and my employer. Great post!

  5. bobpage Says:

    A thoughtful post, thanks René (and Aurélie) — and I note that your follow-up comment is worthy of its own post!

    Since you asked .. I think it would make sense to keep all the WAA ethics efforts under one umbrella for the time being. We might find enough distinction between the two paths (data usage and professional conduct) that they each deserve their own focus, but at this point I’d prefer to get all viewpoints on the table first, and worry about sorting/organizing second.

    Bob

  6. Kristoffer Ewald Says:

    Having been in this business for a very long time now I must say that I very much support the idea of working by Code of Ethics. We’ve been asked many times, and the only good response is along the lines of your blog post – we don’t need to be agnostic, bu to be independent. The clever vendors understands this.

    Kristoffer

  7. Microsoft Gatineau Unleashed » Ashwin’s Blog Says:

    […] Because of the screen shot leak, this has been a hot issue. Else it was not a secret anyways. […]

  8. Justo Says:

    You could find a review on Gatineau implementation at

    http://www.analytics20.org/tools/microsoft-gatineu-review-first-part/

    with regards to privacy concerns on personal information

    http://www.analytics20.org/web-analytics/the-importance-of-a-good-information-source/

    Cheers,

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