What Does Digital Analytics Have in Common with Content Strategy, Information Architecture and User Experience?

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I was in Palm Springs last week giving a workshop at The Rockley Group’s Intelligent Content 2012, a conference for Web content strategists, user experience specialists, technical writers, and information architects. Yes, I was likely the only “official” digital analytics person in the house.

Like web analytics folks, content strategists talk about many of the same issues when it comes to being part of the larger digital or web program: not in the loop, not given enough respect, business value of the work is not understood, and so on

Kristina Halvorson, founder of content strategy firm, Brain Traffic and one of the thought leaders in the content strategy space took this issue on…and I liked her perspective. Among the points she made, and one that digital analytics professionals could also learn from comes down to this:

Be open, interested and seek cooperation with others in the organization who are working on digital initiatives.

I agree wholeheartedly with this.

Could you do anything to smash the silos in your organization? Is there anything you could do to build bridges for cooperation? I think this comes down to learning from each other and appreciating that there is much common ground.

So, with this in mind, I’ve decided to do a time-release of my Profiles in Analytics research over the course of the next 5 weeks. In this year’s study, I looked at the influence of overall Web governance on the use of and integration of analytics throughout the organization.

How does this relate to what I described above?

I think web specialties like analytics and content strategy are left out because there is no overall process governing web operations. When you have governance, there is simply a better chance for everyone to be included in the “big tent”; less of a chance of being forgotten about.(If you want to learn more about Web governance, I recommend that you get to know Lisa Welchman at WelchmanPierpoint)

I believe governance begets good process and with good process there’s a place for all of the essential elements of development to be included… at least that’s what I see among my clients…especially in enterprise level organizations.

However, if there is no top down governance from senior leadership, or if it isn’t strong, then folks who are doing the work in content, IA, user experience, and analytics, ought to do more to organize on the grassroots level and work as allies.

So, today, I’ll kick off with the research premise:

Not many would dispute that organizations need a Web strategy to be successful. When it comes to execution, operational governance is considered the key to getting the organization to act on the strategy. Governance takes the strategy and makes it real through alignment of roles, responsibilities, management policies and budget decisions.

It follows that if an organization has both strategy and governance in place, then it would have a firm grasp around how to integrate the support of and use of digital analytics into their business process.

From a best practice perspective, organization-wide Web governance provides the digital analytics function with a presence in the overall decision making structure. It also provides clarity in defining the role of Web analytics within the organization.

But does this actually happen?

55 percent of the organizations who took part in this year’s Profile in Analytics survey indicated that they have Web strategies. Yet only 30 percent indicated that they have Web governance councils.

There certainly seems to be a relationship between governance and strategy.

Of those that have a Web governance council, 60 percent have a Web strategy in place.

Of those that have no Web governance council, 46 percent have a Web strategy in place.

In the following analysis, we compared how “governance” and “non-governance” organizations managed and used digital analytics.

The question is: Are the 30 percent with governance getting more out of analytics?

To find out, you can read next week’s installment of Profiles in Analytics, or download the entire research.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Phil Kemelor
In his role as Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services, Kemelor helps companies deploy and use web analytics successfully. Kemelor, a noted author and speaker on web analytics, is a former journalist, marketing executive and 14-year Internet veteran. He has 10 years of experience in web analytics and previously headed the web analytic program at Bell Atlantic. He co-founded and served as Principal Consultant for the web analytics consultancy at NetGenesis, one of the first web analytic software firms and led engagements with a number of Fortune 500 firms.

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