Why Is It Always The Boss’s Fault?

On from Analytics Culture

I have been reading a lot lately about general analytics, performance dashboards, and database marketing. A common commentary in all those books, articles, and blogs is senior management’s buy in. You will see it everywhere: if you don’t find a mentor, sponsor, or champion of some sort, your analytical project runs very little chance of succeeding. In a world of scarce resources allocated to maximize return, it comes to no surprise that at least one person with some glut should be behind anything that’s supposed to drive traction in a business.

Getting the Boss, well, any boss, to understand the value of Web Analytics is still hard to do in many companies. Let alone investing money with mid-long term expectations. It is definitely possible, and the fourth and last part of UBC’s online training in WA is actually focusing on just that. A short description of the course says:

This course goes beyond the tracking and reporting of web site activity, covering both the art and the science of successfully using web analytics to drive change within organizations.  Getting organizational buy-in for analytics usage and data-driven decision making (My emphasis)…”

I haven’t attended that training, so I am not aware of the suggested tips & tricks to get management flow Web Analytics with money, but I am pretty sure that, somewhere in the course, and not far in the curriculum, creating a couple of quick wins is there. In my years of practice with clients in WA, I have noticed that some good new insight can get a long way. You would be amazed at how quickly interest, and monies, come your way when you can provide that business insight based on hard facts. I have found it to be the best persuader, at least in the early stages of web analytics implementation. True, there is always the law of diminishing returns around the corner, but by that time, your organization should have fully converted to the virtues of WA.

In order to come with such quick wins, you don’t necessarily need to have the best equipment right away. Getting going on the cheap, and slowly building proficiency and budgets is the most realistic way to go in many organizations. Get an entry-level product for a few hundreds dollars, or get Google Analytics, and soon Microsoft Gatineau, for free, and look at your numbers hard. Are we making enough money on visits from paid search versus organic? Should we still sponsor that site in terms of qualified registration we get? Does that expensive Flash demo really drives sales? You’ll see, as soon as you start helping your colleagues spend their money more wisely, more productively, you will notice an increase in their interest materialize in the form of more and more questions. Soon, there will be consensus that “we need to put more dough in this thing!”

If for now you’re the only Web Analytics champion your organization has, you have a choice: whine that you’re not understood, or make the boss understand with little irrefutable facts.

3 responses to “Why Is It Always The Boss’s Fault?

  1. A course that teaches you how to get “organizational buy-in”? Sorry to be a skeptic, but in my experience this is such a squishy thing that it almost completely defies being able to be taught in a classroom.

    It’s like those textbooks that tell you the 7 steps for creating a strategic plan. Very methodical — but hardly effective.

    For those in WA looking to get buy-in and the boss’ attention, you should step back and ask why — why is it that we need senior management’s attention and “buy-in”? The answer is likely that what WA is trying to do is cross-functional and represents a change in the way things are done at the firm.

    WA can do a few things bottom up, under the radar to help senior managers understand the type of changes, and different approaches, that WA wants to take. But large-scale change requires a whole bunch of departments to play nicely in the sandbox. How do you teach THAT in a course?

  2. Hi Ron,

    Sorry about the delay: I just noticed that your post has been caught by Aksimet and I did get a notice.

    What you say is right. I wanted to illustrate as well that getting quick wins is the best form of persuasion. Many people in BI as well as WA talk about getting a sponsor with a lot of organizational weight, because of the change they can bring. I figure that a nice little lists of small but solid successful projects will help convince such person to become that sponsor.

    Thanks for your comment, and sorry again the delay.

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