You have read plenty of articles, seen your fair share of webinars, and attended more online summits than you can count—all in the name of preparing to ride the digital analytics wave into a better future with your company. Your head is spinning from all of the options out on the market today. So, in the interest of time, you immediately gravitate to the industry’s powerhouse solution, Adobe Analytics. This could be the absolute best decision you can make to achieve overwhelming success in the company’s digital future … or it could be the broken cog in your analytics wheel that brings everything to a grinding halt! To find out whether Adobe Analytics will be the grease in the wheel of your company’s analytics success, or the broken cog that sends the whole initiative flying recklessly down the wrong road, ask yourself the following five critical questions.
What is the business goal driving this digital analytics implementation?
Many companies charge full speed ahead with their chosen analytics application without ever evaluating how well that application will meet the business goals which prompted the initiative. Usually, someone in marketing says, “Hey, I need to be able to know how my campaigns are performing.” Or someone from eCommerce asks, “How many purchases are coming directly from the newly designed product detail pages?” And, before you know it, you are knee-deep in a complex analytics implementation that has no well-defined scope. The business goal driving an analytics implementation should be well thought out prior to even looking at tool options. One of the tell-tale signs that should be considered in your tool decision is your company’s digital focus and maturity. Does your company have a well-established digital presence? Is eCommerce a considerable sales channel for your business? Is digital transformation on your near-term roadmap? If you answered yes to at least two out of three of these questions, then Adobe Analytics could be a great choice for supporting your company’s digital business goals. If you answered no to at least two out of the three questions, then Adobe Analytics may be something you should consider in the future, as your company’s digital maturity grows.
Does this digital analytics initiative have full buy-in and support from executive leadership?
I have used the term ‘initiative’ here for a couple of reasons. Implementing Adobe Analytics is both strategic and long-term. It is not a ‘large project’ with a definitive end date or hard success criteria, as can be the case with other analytics tool options—it is an investment in the company. Investments generally come with a higher price tag, additional resources, and executive scrutiny. When moving forward with an Adobe Analytics implementation, expectations need to be clear around potential cost and timing for each phase of the implementation, not the least of which will be training, ongoing support, and maintenance. There are other options available that require much less overhead and a much shorter time to market. But those options also may not meet your business goals or support a more advanced digital ecosystem. The last thing any company wants to do is start down the path of an analytics implementation, only to have to fast track or abandon many crucial steps because the initiative was not considered a business priority with executive support from the beginning. Resources are often reallocated to other projects or budgets get cut mid-stream, leaving you with a half-baked implementation that will likely never meet your needs.
Is the company prepared to staff the necessary resources required for the initiative?
A digital analytics implementation, regardless of tools selected, does not equate to throwing some software on a server and watching reports populate with data. Standing up a new Adobe Analytics implementation is no easy feat. It takes time, dedication, technical support resources, business resources, and more. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. After making it through months of planning and implementation, you are only halfway down the path leading to the powerful data and insights that Adobe Analytics will provide. Partnering with a trusted advisor with deep analytics and industry knowledge, as well as proven expertise in Adobe Analytics implementation and maintenance is a consideration well worth taking. Adobe support will only get you so far. Having a collaborative partner like InfoTrust as an extension of your own internal team will provide the in-depth, personalized support that is necessary for a successful Adobe Analytics implementation. InfoTrust can not only assist with your implementation, but also guide your company through the training of and transition to your company’s in-house team.
Forming a dedicated analytics team is critical. It would be a terrible misstep to not have a dedicated team supporting your implementation. Adobe Analytics is a highly customizable digital data insights engine, a true powerhouse. In order to tap into even half of the value the tool can provide, it will take a team of trained developers, data analysts, and a product administrator, at minimum. Within this dedicated team, there needs to be a thorough understanding of how best to technically capture the data from the site, what that data represents, how to marry the data appropriately, and how to visualize the insights gained using the highly evolved Analysis Workspace built into Adobe Analytics. Because of the extreme flexibility built into Adobe Analytics, it is crucial to have a team of qualified experts ensuring that data is being captured and represented accurately. Your data and insights are only as good as the team of people working with the tool. The more seasoned and experienced they are with the implementation and the data, the more powerful the insights you will be able to unleash.
Do you have plans to integrate your digital analytics solution with other business systems within the company?
If a digital transformation is on your near-term roadmap, then considering the integration capabilities of an analytics solution is important. In addition, looking into products from the same company that compliment the analytics engine is also smart. Many companies that offer analytics solutions also offer companion products that complement or expand the analytics engine’s capabilities. Adobe offers quite an extensive analytics ecosystem that goes far beyond basic marketing related activities. However, if purchasing only Adobe products to build out your digital maturity is not in the plan, then it would be in your best interest to research Adobe’s abilities to integrate with any existing or planned future solutions at your company (e.g. eCommerce and CMS engines). If you are not in the market to purchase Adobe’s Commerce or Experience Manager to integrate with your Adobe Analytics, then you will need to understand that, while Adobe Analytics’ built-in flexibility makes many integrations with outside applications possible, it certainly comes at a much higher price in regard to technical difficulty level and testing requirements.
What is the company’s digital analytics endgame?
This question should be relatively easy to answer. However, what trips most companies up is the way they interpret the question. The question is not, “In a perfect world, where resources and budget are unlimited, what is your company’s digital analytics endgame?” Instead, it should be read as, “Based on current allocated resources and budget, along with near-term roadmap priorities, what is your company’s digital analytics endgame?” To put things into perspective, if your marketing, content, or media teams are asking for ‘website data’ to be able to evaluate their online assets for performance, then the endgame for analytics is just that: ‘web reporting.’ There are no asks about customer journey or site engagement optimization, or even product purchase path. In this situation, Adobe Analytics is likely not the solution for your company, as it will be a far more complex and involved solution than what the company would ever utilize in the near-term. When questions like the latter come up, they are usually from a seasoned digital business executive, whose number-one goal is to get as much insight out of data being collected from the website in order to make informed decisions about site design, product offerings, and customer success at online interactions with the company. These types of questions indicate that the company’s endgame for digital analytics is to become increasingly more data driven in business decisions. This is Adobe Analytics’ bread and butter. You will be hard-pressed to run out of options for slicing and dicing, segmenting, marrying, or comparing data with Adobe Analytics. And this is the reason Adobe Analytics is one of the only analytics solutions that can provide the level of true data analysis required to inform critical business decisions.
While there are many options out on the market today for digital analytics solutions, the selection of one shouldn’t be taken lightly. Each solution offers its own unique standout features, as well as less obvious drawbacks. Each of these solutions truly are designed with certain types and sizes of businesses in mind, though they will all claim to be one-size-fits-all. An informed decision requires a true understanding of the current business needs, company digital goals and strategy, and future outlook and prioritization of digital transformation within the company. Taking the time to truly evaluate these things within your company, and answering the five critical questions in this article, will not only serve you well in your selection of the right digital analytics solution, but will also prevent the all-too-common failures that are guaranteed to occur, whether during implementation or in data analysis a year later, when selecting the wrong solution for your company’s digital analytics needs.