At Omniture Summit 11, I was honored to be part of the Analytics All-Stars team. One of the topics I covered in the break-out session was centered around the key things that should be done before you begin deploying tracking code.
Getting access to a new analytics package is like unwrapping that shiny birthday present that has been sitting in the corner of the room. It’s very tempting to rip off the paper, tear into the box, and start playing. However, based on the experience I’ve gained from participating in well over 100 different implementations, I’ve found a common thread that has run through the most successful implementations. That common thread is patience.
When I took the position of Manager of Web Analytics at Spark Networks, I felt the pressure of “getting things going” right out of the gate but I quickly learned that it was ok to push back. It’s ok to walk before you run. Managing a successful Analytics practice isn’t a sprint, it’s a long, long race and those who end up being successful learn how to pace themselves.
Before any code hit the page at Spark Networks, I spent several months getting a lay of the land. If it was my responsibility to provide insight to key departments within the business, how could I think about doing that without even knowing what those departments did? I spent countless days literally sitting at the desks of product managers, marketing directors, executives, and developers. After I had developed a better understanding of what made each department tick, I began to hold formal interviews, it was these interviews that formed that structure of the analytics implementation.
So who should you interview? The following is a list of people I interviewed. This list isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list by any means but should start you down the right track for your business.
→Email Marketing Coordinator
→Customer Support Manager
→Customer Support Rep(s)
My goal was to transform every employee in the company into a strong advocate for my analytics practice. I couldn’t accomplish this goal without taking into consideration everyone’s needs. You can implement the most perfect implementation the world has ever seen but if you fail to gain user adoption, your implementation will also be a failure.
You can read more about how I branded and marketed the analytics practice in my blog post titled ‘Are You Branding Your Internal Analytics Practice?‘
Use notes from your interviews to document requirements and make note of gaps in the current process. From there, develop a blueprint of what will be captured, where and when. This can take the form of a simple spreadsheet.
Now, break up your implementation into a series of phases, NEVER try to deploy everything all at once. For one it becomes too large of a project to deploy in a timely manner and it sets a bad precedent that the implementation will be complete after the initial rollout. If you remember nothing else from this blog post, please remember that an implementation is never complete, it is a living, breathing thing that needs constant care or it will die.