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An afternoon immersion in digital analytics

by Kelly Kubrick on January 28, 2013

Key Takeaways from eMetrics Tour Ottawa 2013

Our thanks to the 100+ hardy souls who turned up for an afternoon of digital measurement resolutions on the first day of Ottawa’s killer cold snap this month. It was a great turnout; we had folks from all sectors and across all industries having lots of  great conversations. My thanks to Jim Sterne and my fellow sponsors for sharing their insight and information. In the hope that it might keep your own digital analytics discussions flowing back at your offices, here are my top takeaways:

Analytics definitions from Stephane Hamel of Cardinal Path

  • “How an organization arrives at an optimal and realistic decision informed by data”
  • “Analytics is context plus data plus creativity”
  • “Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic into small parts to gain an understanding of it

I agree with Stephane’s statements – that the digital analytics industry’s number one problem today is the lack of rigorous process. In my own experience, the only way to keep ahead of all tool and technology changes is to have a framework that articulates what to measure, based on your ‘why’ measure objectives, regardless of vendor. Stephane uploaded his presentation “10 years of hard learned analytics wisdom in 20 minutes” on SlideShare.

(Yours Truly) Kelly Kubrick from Online Authority

Hobbit-Bilbo-Baggins-in-Doorway I was pleased that folks seem to hear, based on tweets, some of my key messages:

  • To an analyst, reporting is practising scales is to a musician; it gets / keeps you limber so that you are more able to achieve more creativity in your analysis
  • For non-techies, know that deconstructing prose and poetry in literature gives you an edge when deconstructing blocks of data. You already know how to assess the “whole” based on your ability to isolate the parts
  • Annotate, annotate, annotate: they give you a contextual lens to better understand your data as it changes
  • Ideally, digital analysts have a belief in Second Breakfast in common with Hobbits  (vs hairy feet).

Feel free to peruse my my list of recommended resources for digital analysts, or to download my full presentation Changing Habits: An Unexpected Analytics Journey” (PDF). Let me know if you have any questions about either.

Jim Cain of Napkyn

Jim tackled the question of data and design best practices for Executive Dashboards. His words of advice:

  • “Use dashboards to replace intuition with information”
  • “Create alignment ~ draw the line between the numbers to sales/leads etc for executives by anticipating the question: “I showed you this because…”
  • “Good data + great analysis = appreciative execs (+ better decisions)”
  • “Your dashboard should inform ‘data focus’ choices – don’t include ALL the numbers; pick the ones that tell the story
  • “The best way to look at the numbers is to compare current to historical and predictive (the plan)”

And my personal favourite: “Think of Excel as a design tool, not just a data tool. Start thinking of your reports as non-fiction stories”. As someone known for singing the praises of pivot tables, the analogy brought a smile to my face.

If you didn’t get the chance to see it prior to our gathering, here’s Napkyn’s earlier post on the event: eMetrics Ottawa – Awesome, Important, Free! (and Napkyn is in the house).

Jim Sterne of eMetrics and the Digital Analytics Association

  • “Big data” is that which no longer fits in an Excel spreadsheet – love that! Update: per Jim’s comment below, this should actually be credited to Stephane Hamel – and with that, thanks Stephane for coining it and Jim for introducing me to it!
  • Snippet answers from Jim’s question: What Makes a Great Analyst? One who “understands the raw material and the mechanics of extraction”, “the problem to be solved” and who is “mindful of built-in biases that prevent one from looking at one’s data honestly”
  • The low hanging fruit of analysis includes “errors, omissions, complaints, spikes and troughs, ‘that’s funny” moments and anomalies”
  • “Above all, have an opinion”

emetrics-summit-logoAlthough Jim had much more to say, for a great summary of Jim’s presentation, you can’t beat Practicing the Art of Analytics published by June Li and the crew clickinsight in Toronto.

For those of you who might be interested in attending an upcoming eMetrics Summit, but you’d like to know more about it, take a look at distilled learning from eMetrics Toronto 2012.

And, congratulations to the Canadian eMetrics Summit Tour winners!

Allan Wille of Klipfolio

Allan gave us his forecast on trends that are changing the weather for marketers:

  • “1) real-time feeds, 2) data democracy, and 3) using the Cloud”
  • “Real time” of automated self-serve dashboards can make a difference”; break loose from the chains of manually updating Excel spreadsheets!
  • Data democracy is about: “aligning the entire organization behind the data, getting everyone in the organization looking at the data and realizing that data needs to be shared no matter what”
  • Communicate goals, measure then communicate again to get everyone on the bus (idea from book From Good to Great by Jim Collins)
  • “The Cloud has helped to develop the maturity if analytics tools” – amen to that!

Learn more from Klipfolio by taking a look at their pre-event post: Let’s talk metrics! Klipfolio an official sponsor of the eMetrics Tour.

Also, to see how our colleagues at the Montreal stop fared, take a look at eMetrics Tour Montréal – Un résumé des conférences (in French).

And finally – thanks to all of you who tweeted up a storm; it was great to be able to ‘replay’ the event with your documentary effort! In particular, my thanks to @w_grimes@jorrdanlouis@nellleo and @LindsayMMcPhee. You captured a great deal of information, and I really appreciated it.

Kelly Kubrick

Digital Analyst and President of Online Authority; co-author dStrategy Digital Maturity Model, COO of MyLiberty.Life, co-founder, Digital Strategy Conference; co-owner 3rd generation family business. Downhill Skier. Foodie. Fan of all things digital.

Kelly KubrickAn afternoon immersion in digital analytics

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3 comments

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  • eMetrics Tour 2013: Ottawa Digital Analytics Event Details « Online Authority - January 28, 2013 reply

    […] An afternoon immersion in digital analytics […]

  • Jim Sterne - January 28, 2013 reply

    Thanks for the wrap up Kelly! But I do have a correction…

    It seems I am always credited with saying that “Hits stands for How Idiots Track Success” when it is in fact Katie Delahaye Paine @kdpaine whom I’ve been quoting since the early 1990’s!

    By the same token (not Tolkien), I seem to be getting credit for
    “Big data is that which no longer fits in an Excel spreadsheet .” This bob mot comes from our own Stephane Hamel @SHamelCP and all kudos will forever be forwarded to him.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto at the eMetrics Summit!

    Kelly Kubrick - January 29, 2013 reply

    Hi Jim – thanks for the correction – now noted above. Most importantly, kudos for the Tolkien reference. Nicely done. See you in Toronto!

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