The Analytics Paradox

analytics tweet from Avinash Kaushik“Analytics is a lot more important than business leaders realize, and a lot less important than analytics people believe.” My friend Bobby saw this tweet from Avinash Kaushik, the Godfather of Google Analytics, and asked about my thoughts.

To be honest, my first reaction was a bit defensive though I somewhat agree with his observation. But then I started thinking about the reason behind this “analytics narcissism” paradox. True, businesses can’t improve what they don’t measure. But it is not the end of the world if a website is going live without tracking code fully implemented. Unlike design or tech, analytics is more abstract. Analysts produce measurement plans, tracking specs, and testing instructions, but none of those are meant for public use. People might praise a beautiful design of a website or the groundbreaking functionality or feature of an app, but when do you hear someone rave about something like “the tracking on this website is so well done”?

Since there really aren’t many visible “analytics products,” the discipline usually remains as an after thought. You can argue that there are plenty of tools out there like Google Analytics and Adobe SiteCatalyst to produce analytic products, but in my opinion, those tools enable reports, and reports to me aren’t visible. As a result, analytics people like me always find ourselves in situations trying to get our opinions heard. A project without analytics might not seem like an issue in the beginning, but in a few months when you want to evaluate the performance of that project, it will be impossible to capture information to answer the questions.

So how can companies balance the competing desire for analytics with the cost of obtaining the final analysis? Depending on where the organization is in its journey in data science & analytics, analytics can either be established analytics as the center of excellence (COE) or integrated across different departments. Analytics should be the backbone of any business operation instead of an add-on discipline/capability (Richard Wendell,

Do you work in analytics? What is your solution to the analytics paradox?

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