Aaron Gray // Greater Returns

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Musings on Web Analytics, product strategy + other stuff.

Maybe You Need a Web Analytics Turnaround, Not a New Vendor

The Problem

Many companies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in web analytics tools and talent, and still find themselves frustrated by a lack of demonstrable value — a lack of real, calculable return on that investment.

It’s not a good situation to be in.  It’s bad personally for the managers and executives who have overseen the investment.  It’s bad for the vendors who take the blame for providing no value.  And it’s bad for the business which, unless corrective action is taken, will continue to throw good money after bad.

What to Do?

Typically, the response to this situation is to blame the vendor and put out an RFP.  It’s a natural response.  But is it the right response?  Most of the time, it isn’t.  The problems preventing you from getting value with your current vendor likely stem from unclear roles and responsibilities in the organization, a lack of defined and well-understood processes, and out-of-date or missing business rules for data collection and reporting.

These problems will still exist if you simply go to RFP, and will cause you not to get value from a new vendor.  Even if one of your problems is a poor implementation or a poor fit of vendor to business requirements, invariably issues of process, roles and responsibilities, and business rules (governance, essentially) lie at the heart of how you get to the point where your implementation fails to suit your need.

What, then, is the right response?  When a business is underperforming, do the owners demand that you rip out your accounting technology and replace it?  No.  They usually initiate a turnaround process — a process that involves bringing in experts to assess the current situation and develop a plan to get the operation back on track and providing value to the owners.

Turn it Around

That’s also the appropriate response to an underperforming web analytics investment — a web analytics turnaround.  And that’s why Greater Returns is now offering Web Analytics Turnaround as a service offering.  It makes much more sense to evaluate your overall strengths and weaknesses with web analytics before deciding on a course of action.  Are your problems with process?  People? The technology?  If your problems are the technology, is it a shortcoming of the technology or a shortcoming of your process for governing management of that technology?

Once you understand where your true problems with web analytics lie it becomes easy to develop a prioritized plan for turning around your web analytics operation.  You may well decide that you need to rip out your vendor and start over — but you should never take that course of action based merely on an assumption.  You’ll likely find yourself in the same place 12 months from now.

Check out the Web Analytics Turnaround offering here.

Filed under: People, Process, Tools, Web Analytics

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