Friday, February 22, 2008

Is Web Analytics too marketing centric?

Last night I was sharing some sushi with fellow web analyst and freelance contractor Jacques Warren, chit chatting about web analytics and other things in life... well, mostly web analytics. Jacques is a strong believer of integrating web data with enterprise systems (see "The Big Integration"), and I'm a strong believer of business process optimization through proper use of Internet, and more specifically, web technologies. That being said, I'm no marketing expert, I'm just a tech guy who got out of his shoes to be more business oriented, applying 20 years of experience in listening to requirements, analyzing possible solutions, and making recommendations.

This got us talking...
In my opinion, web analytics is being somehow "hijacked" by marketing.
Read on...

I don't think it's a good idea to imply "web analytics" is “marketing optimization” (as in the eMetrics conference title); I think we should not talk about web analytics, we should talk about “business analytics”. Just like the web itself, web analytics grew from IT roots simply because it was "too technical" (1994-97), then marketing got hold of the web as a marketing channel (1996-2002), but sooner than later corporations realized marketing was "one" function of the business, so they created ebusiness strategies encompassing several business functions , including sales, customer support, creating extranets and intranets and so on (2002-). Soon we won’t even talk about ebusiness, because in the end the “web” will be blended in all aspects of the corporate functions and culture.

Then, this morning I read the excellent post from Paul Legutko, at Semphonic, "The Future of Web Analytics Consulting" and a few minutes ago, the follow up from Marshall Sponder. What a coincidence!

I think the same type of transition from IT to Marketing to Business-wide will happen, probably sooner than we think. What we call “web analytics” today, which has somehow become the stronghold of marketing, will continue to evolve. In reality, what we want to do is “analytics” using all scientifically valid methods and tools to optimize the business, and that includes not only web analytics for marketing optimization as we know today, but make extensive use of "multiplicity" to optimize all functions of the business. It's certainly no coincidence that Thomas Davenport, a thought-leader in analytics and business strategy, will be a keynote at the San-Francisco eMetrics.