Monday, April 24, 2006

How important it is to measure the web?

Quoted from Jim Novo on the Web Analytics News Group:
"Ford Motor Company has run a pilot where they are using the info from a "Build Your Car" configurator on the web to predict demand for certain cars and features. When they matched the "predicted" data from the config to "actual" sales data, the fit was simply amazing. So amazing you would immediately question if the data was "tortured" somehow.

But that's the nature of near frictionless environments like the web. You tend to get behavioral data that is simply more "true" then asking people their opinions, which is the more common way to get affirmation for auto design from the customer.

What is probably more important, from an analytical culture perspective, is that this gigantic metal-bender with very long lead times is actually using this web data to modify production plans because it has been such a reliable predictor of demand.

This concept was so far outside the expected norm that in the Q & A, I made a fool of myself by asking Stacey Coopes (from Ford) if I had heard her correctly. The conversation went roughly like this:

  • Jim Novo: Are you saying that Ford is actually using web demand data to drive auto production?
  • Stacey Coopes: "Yes", she said.
  • Jim Novo: "You mean, to actually schedule production, order parts, configure factories?"
  • Stacey Coopes: "Yes", she said

Bottom Line - I simply do not want to hear anyone ever again whining about problems with getting management to pay attention to web data. If Stacey can make this kind of thing happen at Ford, you can do it where you are.

This is a monumental achievement.