Lee Bryant, who works at Headshift, a UK consulting firm, spoke earlier this week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston on the data-action conundrum. While he was often talking about social media data, the lessons he brought to the table could also work with data you cull from monitoring the performance of your web site.
One of the key points of his presentation was this: “Data and analytics are not just about aggregate numbers, but about specific insights if you do it well.” It seems like a simple enough concept to grasp, yet it’s surprising how many companies tend to look at aggregate data and not stop to think about the implications of that data on the people visiting the web site.
What’s more, Bryant thinks we sometimes don’t even look at the right data. Using social media analytics — this was an Enterprise 2.0 conference keynote, after all — he said we tend to look at the data and worry about the wrong thing. In this instance, he said, “If we look at practice of social media monitoring, we are too obsessed with brand.” He says this ends up providing very aggregate measures of how companies are working in the marketplace.
Instead, Bryant finds it much more interesting to look at individual customers and the things you can change, rather than obsessing over what’s going on in the marketplace.
Now think about website monitoring. Are you looking at the right data or are you overly concerned with averages? Are you thinking about the individuals who are actually having a bad experience visiting your web site? If you can drill down into those numbers and use the information to take real action to improve that experience, you will be building a successful web site experience for your visitors.
Bryant cited the work of Dave Gray who has developed this notion of pods or small teams of people responsible for monitoring one part of the user experience. He said that one good example of this is Amazon.com, which uses the so-called two-pizza team — small enough to feed with two pizzas — to look after one part of the customer experience, and he says, what’s interesting is that they get live, real-time feedback from the behavior of customers so they are completely customer focused and watching the numbers of the feature they are charged with monitoring.
Now not everyone has the resources to monitor in this fashion, but you can take away this notion of watching what’s happening in real time, finding ways to understand your monitoring numbers better and taking actions to improve the user experience.
It doesn’t matter how big your company is when it comes to helping users get the best experience possible and if you keep that goal in mind, the better off your users will be.
Photo by Siri Hardeland on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.