Measurement and Analytics - Who Gets to See What?
As anyone who is immersed in web analytics, customer satisfaction or any kind of customer, operations or marketing measurement knows, the data that is surfaced tells many different stories that are suitable for different audiences.
This week's post is not about online privacy - we'll leave that for the future. This post digs into more detail on the visibility side of things - within your organization and outside. Analytics as basic as visits or sessions, unique visitors, conversion rates - or as detailed such as cart abandonment rates, persona behaviour, average shopping cart value, top features selected for vehicles, etc., should have thought behind with who gets to see what - based on the type of organization you are sitting in. I would divide organizations into 4 types when it comes to managing access to analytics data for the purpose of properly controlling who is seeing and interpreting the data.
- Government and other public organizations where analytics tracking data is often unavailable, sometimes accessible by IT, but not often analyzed or accessible to the people who need it most. This information is rarely shown to external stakeholders, in most cases.
- For-profit - e-commerce driven (partially or fully) organizations where sales related data and customer visit data and key insights are highly sensitive and visibilty is generally tightly = controlled.
- Business to Business where analytics often drives decisions from a marketing and product management perspective, is kept under wraps except for the few people that need the data to make or measure progress on decisions. In large organizations, access to the data is often difficult to get and a common complaint is the time it takes to fulfill requests.
- NGO's, member based organizations, industry associations, etc., are generally = open about their analytics at the basic level, often reporting on them monthly if a public portal is available (ie. realtor.ca). What often isn't shared externally is data about how well features and tools are being used, key conversions, etc. The challenge in many of these types of organizations is an overall lack of sophistication about measurement and its use in decision making.
This division creates a spectrum that perhaps is not so cut and dried based on the organization type, but more the culture that has developed over time. As we have discussed before, effective organizations will use data and insights throughout the decision making process across the organization. All departments that are accountable for decisions that involve activity on a digital property, need to have access to insights from a qualified members of the insights team.
From an application perspective, just like many tools have visibility settings, so too do most enterprise analytics applications where you can control access to reporting data. Applications such as Google Analytics give you the ability to control access to 'Properties', or 'Views', for example, as ways to manage visibility. They also use Permissions to manage what visitors can do with their tool. Adobe Analytics works similarly.
It is not always about restricting data access though. The other component of a measurement program is promoting the availability of insights and analytics so that they are more widely used. Perhaps you can call it pushing data and insights into the organization, the goal ultimately to maximize the investment in measurement, and raise the bar around its usage. Educating the different groups in an organization to understand what is possible requires some forethought as to what each group or individual might want or need, is a significant portion of many insight manager and data analyst's jobs.
Making decisions in your organization about access to data, is mostly about deciding on workflow and gauging the sensitivity of the data in its entirety to arrive at works in your case. My opinion, is that having an educated organization around measurement, as well as clear communication on insights and analytics, and open access on the basics, raises up the organization as a whole for better decision making at all levels.