Monday, December 6, 2010

Web analytics business education at ULaval (MRK-6005)


I was nearing the completion of my eBusiness MBA at Laval Univesity (Quebec-city). Instead of going the traditional thesis route the program required us to apply our learning in a real business environment. The head of the department, noticing the experience I had in the online field, my passion for analytics and my presence on the honor roll, suggested I could develop a new online class on the topic of web analytics.

The initial version was a classic approach aimed at undergraduate students, starting with "history of web analytics" and addressing the various aspects of analysis: traffic sources, on-site behavior, outcomes, etc. Although the University liked it, the "analytics is hard" debate was raging on - so I went on to study why so many organisations are failing at web analytics and few really achieve outstanding results. The concept of the Web Analytics Maturity Model emerged. Six key process areas were identified - things that must be present to achieve success. This became the basis for one of the first graduate level, full semester, business oriented, 360 degree view of online analytics. The term "Web" was later replaced with "Online", as highlighted by the course objectives.

MRK-6005: Analytiques web

3 credits - graduate Level - 100% online course, available in the following programs (in French):
Language: The course should be available in English very soon, maybe as soon as January.
Licensing: I fully own the rights to this course and collaboration with other approved universities is welcomed.
Fees: Quebec residents ~275$, Canadian residents: ~650$, international students: ~1,500$

Course objectives

If analytics is the science of analysis, and analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it (1) - online analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and transformation of various sources of data (qualitative & quantitative) into insight for the purposes of understanding and optimizing online business processes. Online analytics can be viewed as a subset of business intelligence: the skills, processes, technologies, applications and practices used to support decision making (2) - and business analysis: the discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems... process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development. (3)

Specific objectives

  • Develop a data-driven approach to ebusiness and interactive marketing management
  • Allow future managers to make decisions based on the most optimal and realistic solutions in a fast paced and continuously evolving environment
  • Demonstrate how business performance measurement, user-centered design, effective communication, and an analytical approach to problem solving can be leveraged to better understand who are the online users, their goals, and how the business can and should fulfill those needs more effectively.

Learning approach

Each module introduces a new concept, ranging from introductory to more complex business situations, that can be readily applied in a real working environment thanks to the precious collaboration of business partners. Selected lectures, discussion forums, quizzes, weekly short assignments, live chat sessions and videos contributes to the learning environment. A final assignment, based on a real, live business environment, offers the greatest opportunity to put theory into practice.


The course length is 15 weeks/modules:
  1. Introduction: basic concepts of online analytics
  2. Technologies: logs, tags, cookies and other considerations
  3. Concepts: from business goals to online objectives, user-centered design, personas, persuasion architecture
  4. Developing analytical skills: the role of statistics in online analytics
  5. Developing analytical skills: base metrics, multiplicity and conversions
  6. Developing analytical skills: key performance indicators, dashboards and effective communication
  7. Developing analytical skills: optimization through a/b and multivariate testing
  8. The analysis process: leveraging problem solving and methodologies (SixSigma/Lean, Wireframes, BPMN)
  9. Analysis: marketing analysis & optimization
  10. Analysis: social media and mobile analytics
  11. Analysis: site optimization, workflows and competition
  12. Managing analytics: change management, developing the culture and adoption of analytics within political & ethical boundaries
  13. Business intelligence and business analysis
  14. Synthesis: course review, innovations and the future of online analytics
  15. Semester assignment delivery & grading
Additional information and inquiries: visit Université Laval - Formation à distance: MRK-6005 (in French) or contact Stéphane Hamel