X Change Conference – Integration is a VERY popular topic


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Somehow, my daughters talked me into a last spring skiing trip over Memorial Day. A trip made possible by the astronomical amount of snow up in the mountains this year… it hasn’t stopped yet! So this was the view from my balcony at Squaw Valley last night – giving a whole new meaning to the words “Path Analysis”! This is the kick-off to summer?


Right now I’m off the mountain with no broken bones (which is basically my goal when I go skiing) and relaxing with a beer, a fireplace and a blog. Sweet. Web analytics is just so much easier than going downhill!

A couple of notes from this past week: I wanted to mention two articles I wrote with my friend Bob Heyman that were posted on Marketing Sherpa. The first discusses the need for an Analytics Agency of Record – an independent measurement watchdog that functions across the enterprise; the second is on Aligning ROI Goals Across the Enterprise. Both are roles that Semphonic has become heavily involved with in the last couple of years and extend our role and relationship past what we might once have thought of as traditional analytics. Bob is keynoting down at the Marketing Sherpa conference in Atlanta this coming week – so if you’re going be sure to check out his speech!

I also wanted to mention the very enjoyable Social Media webinar that Scott Wilder and I shared. Scott came up to Semphonic’s offices for the webinar, which was really nice. Being in the same room makes the webinar more enjoyable and interactive – and I think this one went particularly well. It covers our take on Warehousing Social Media Data. You can access the entire webinar here or just drop me a line and I’ll send you the deck. It’s good stuff.

And speaking of good stuff, I wanted to do another quick post on some of the X Change topics that are slated for this year’s Conference. Last week I talked about some of the analysis focused Huddles – and I’m pleased that we got so many this year. But if I had to pick a single topic that dominated the Huddle lists, it’s probably Integration.

That’s partly because integration is such a big topic (and you could treat all of Big-Data as a subset of integration) and partly because it’s become front and center in current digital analytics practice. Here’s a little sampling (far from exhaustive) about what’s on tap…

Dylan Lewis, who I’m restricting to the 2 Huddle Load that everyone else carries so that he can actually participate as an attendee once in a while, is looking at finding treasures in the raw clickstream data with traditional analysis tools – a topic that might also fall into the analytics or the big-data category. Dylan’s been pushing the envelope around Web analytics for years, and I think this topic is right where the cutting-edge enterprise is focused. One of our newcomers, Katie Reagan from Marriott, is leading a similar Huddle with an explicit focus on the use of BI tools in Digital Analytics. Marriott has a formidable reputation in the customer analytics space, and the use of advanced tools and analysis is a key part of their repertoire.

Bob Page is another one of those pushing the envelope in analytics. We decided not to have him focus on big-data this year – not only has he covered that ground, but eBay’s setup tends to leave the rest of us feeling a bit déclassé. Instead, he’s going to be leading a deep-dive focused specifically on integration strategies for Web analytics: what to leave in and what to leave out. That’s always the key question when it comes to any integration strategy and if you’re part of a larger corporate analytics warehousing initiative, it’s really the key question you’ll have to answer as the Web analytics expert.

It’s probably no surprise that our public sector folks are heavily focused on integration. VoC data is almost the system of record for Public Sector sites, so integration of attitudinal and behavioral data is always one of the first things on their agenda.

The inimitable Susan Fariss is going to be leading a Huddle on the integration of Web Analytics with Survey and Search to drive analysis. This type of integration is going to be de rigueur in a couple of years. I don’t know why, as an Analytics firm, we have to ASK to get Survey and Usability data from our clients. They should be shoveling it at us from day 1 of an engagement. The combination of traditional research methods with behavioral data is extremely rich – almost essential – for really good analysis.

In a similar vein, Ann Portizky (of the National Institute of Health) is tackling the variety of ways to supplement your Web Analytics data. She’ll be covering everything from Call-Center to Usability Analysis. Free-form text data is a major source of interest for advanced Customer Analytics and I expect private sector folks to be pushing hard in this area in the next 12 months as well. Sue Feldman of the National Cancer Institute is going to be covering Social Media Integration – a topic obviously emerging as top-of-mind for all sorts of folks. Some of the biggest projects we’re doing here at Semphonic involve Social Media Measurement and integration, and it’s a subject with a host of problems lacking simple solutions.

Jim Olstrom from Nick is going to be tackling the “dark side” of integration – managing multiple and conflicting sources of data. For all the advantages of integration, every integration you do carries with it an organizational cost. Not only do you have to bring the data together, you have to establish proper governance. It’s one of the aspects to ANY integration that can be most challenging. Enrique Gonzales from the AARP is focused on one specific but huge aspect of that issue – reconciling your organization’s database of record with your Web analytics. You could almost put say that “With integration comes conflict and with conflict comes reconciliation.” Alas, in our world, reconciliation is not quite as feel good an exercise as it sounds!

Obviously, integration is going to be pretty well covered at X Change. Whether you’re interested in the increasing integration of Web analytics data into traditional BI realms, the imperative to merge textual, social and traditional primary research with behavioral data, or the demand for governance and reconciliation when moving data into centralized data stores, X Change has you covered.

Next time (assuming I survive tomorrow’s skiing), my long promised post on the actual construction of a Two-Tiered Segmentation!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gary Angel
Gary is the CEO of Digital Mortar. DM is the leading platform for in-store customer journey analytics. It provides near real-time reporting and analysis of how stores performed including full in-store funnel analysis, segmented customer journey analysis, staff evaluation and optimization, and compliance reporting. Prior to founding Digital Mortar, Gary led Ernst & Young's Digital Analytics practice. His previous company, Semphonic, was acquired by EY in 2013.


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