Often, the start of any new analytics practice is centered around technology, I blame the vendors for this. It’s in your vendors best interest that you get up and running as quickly as possible, the faster you deploy their solution, the faster they get paid.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, implementation has to be completed for your organization to have access to all the rich data you need to start building a data driven culture. However, what many companies fail to realize is that implementation is not limited to a technology task. Implementation also involves integrating your analytics practice into the fabric of your organization.
How many times have you heard something like this, “I’m so frustrated, our product team launched a new feature this morning and the CEO is demanding an analysis. We don’t even have the correct tracking on the new feature, I just found out about it this morning!!!”?
In our excitement to deploy our shiny new analytics solution, we rushed into the build without reading the instructions first. Had we slowed down at bit, we would have realized that one of the critical steps in the process was to ensure that the solution was integrated into our existing processes.
When I was running the analytics practice for 28 corporate brands at Spark Networks, one of the first things I did was to identify the process we followed for managing product enhancements. Internally, we used a solutions called JIRA to manage our software development lifecycle. It was critical that I fully understood the process for how new features were rolled out to our sites, from ideation to launch, and how our systems supported that process.
It became clear to me that I needed to integrate my analytics practice into the product request process that we managed within JIRA. The simple task of adding a few required fields to a JIRA request, made my life so much simpler and I never again had to tell the CEO, “we aren’t tracking that new feature yet.”
When a product manager submitted a feature request, they were now required to complete two additional fields in their request:
1) Is analytics required for this feature?
2) If yes, what are the requirements, if no, why not?
This simple update to the process forced product managers to stop and think about analytics as part of their process for rolling out enhancements to the site.
This example is only one place that I integrated analytics into the process and there are many, many more that I won’t go into detail on but to get you thinking, I also integrated my practice into:
- →Bi-Monthly Executive Staff Meeting
- →Creative Request Process
- →Email Marketing Process
- →Engineering Bug Tracking
- →Quarterly Earnings Calls
- →Product Launch Post-Mortem Reviews
- →And Many, Many More
Take the time to look around your organization and identify the areas that are critical to running the business, find ways for integrating your analtyics practice into these areas and you will take a huge step forward in building a data driven culture.
Of course, to accomplish this, it takes adoption and buy-in from across the organization, so I will address the importance of user adoption in the next part of this series.