Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The end of Web analysts? No, the evolution of the analyst role

I love it when I do my morning round of Tweets, blogs and emails and stumble on something like "The end of Web analysts".

Charles Wiedenhoft proposes "that Internet marketing agencies and internal departments do away with the job title "Web analyst" and instead take time to establish and conduct cross-training programs with all personnel to help them understand what the figures mean and how best to use them in order to meet or exceed a campaign's stated objectives".

In my opinion, Wiedenhoft is proposing something that can, or can not work, depending on what I call the "web analytics maturity level" of the organization. A topic I will be presenting at eMetrics Toronto and eMetrics San Jose.
Web Analytics can succeed if you strike a balance between management, resources, objectives, scope, tools and process. Participants in this interactive session will get to know where they stand in their efforts to take advantage of web analytics data and how to get to the next level of marketing optimization.
Most organizations won't have the time/resources to train and disseminate the "analytical mindset", technical know how (yes, the Web/Internet is still quite technical!), communication skills and political acumen a dedicated analyst needs to develop. This, on top of their daily workload and focus on there core competencies.

Also, his position is heavily on the "marketing campaign optimization" while web analytics can and should be used for understanding and optimizing other aspects of the online business. This "slant" toward marketing is omnipresent in the way web analytics is being leveraged today. This is obvious to me as I tutor UBC web analytics intro, marketing optimization and site optimization, but also a course named "introduction to business process analysis". The relationships between business optimization and analytics are so evident in my mind!

And lastly, if anything, web analytics is shifting toward business analytics. Using "analytics" to understand and optimize all aspects of the business (online and offline) as a mean to gain a competitive advantage. That's what Davenport talks about in his book "Competing on Analytics".