Always overanalyse the business implications of getting a new web analytics tool

In the online world, new technology whether it is measuring technology or otherwise is constantly being thrown at us and this can be overwhelming at times.
One of the main reasons for this endless product/tool/feature release cycle is because the online industry is still growing and has not reached maturation yet. This is of course excellent news for those of us who work in this industry, as, another advantage on top of having a guaranteed career is that you continually get to try these new pieces of software.
However, because it’s really easy to get excited about all this, it’s also really easy to at best ending up being distracted if there is not the right thinking in place in the first place.

First of all, time invested in investigating a new technology is not negligible. You will want to understand what the features are like, research the competition, organize multiple meetings with the actual supplier, talk to the internal stakeholders etc…
If the technology is seen as a real problem solver, then it might even be purchased eventually. When that happens, an even greater amount of time will be required to implement the technology and then to exploit it fully. Now, I may be stating the obvious here but the latter part is often an afterthought. It may be because this is not the bit that technology suppliers will insist on, after all, their time is far better spent on boasting the amazing features of the tool or showing you reports containing data that you thought you could never get. It may also be because the excitement is just too great and it is hard to keep a cold head. To be fair to suppliers, anyone could argue that technically it is the client’s problem and responsibility to one decide who is going to be making sure that the tool’s potential is maximized and second to define the right process behind the tool. In my experience, this thinking and planning step is probably the most important part and yet the most neglected one.

What everyone must remember is that at the end of the day, a software is a software and that’s all it is; what ultimately matters most is the people that are going to exploit it and the process behind it all i.e the “How” bit, (that is assuming of course that the “Why the technology is coming into place” bit has been fully reviewed).
So here are a few things to consider during this thinking and planning step:
People:
-Who is going to be exploiting the tool?
-What measures are going to be taken so that these people’s workload remains manageable once the new technology is in place?
-Has the fact that these people’s time is much better spent on that new technology than on existing tasks been established?
-What level of training are these people going to receive?
-Who will benefit from the tool internally?
Process:
-Have the business questions that need answering from the tool been clearly defined?
-What is the internal communication strategy behind the tool coming into place?
-What is the road map for the tool?
-Are the people who will be acting on the data generated fully prepared to do so?
-Have the data delivery cycles been defined?
-Have the data delivery to data being acted upon cycles been defined?
-Is there a review cycle in place?
I think these questions are crucial to ensure success when it comes to getting a new web analytics solution in place. What are your thoughts? Have you gone through a proper thinking and planning phase before implementing a new technology or did you ever feel afterwards that the excitement had got the better of you?
Thank you for reading and please share your thoughts!

Penny

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