As a Northern Californian surfer I have spent many a day in bad waves. I’d retire (and do pro bono web analytics) if I had a buck for every time I could describe a surf session’s waves as blown out, chop, slop, ankle biters, flat or close out. I could turn around at the site of bad waves, but I rather surf in slop than not at all. Keeping my expectations low on bad days makes just getting in the ocean and getting a few short, unimpressive rides enough to make me happy. I’ve leaned, the hard way; the same cannot be said for those who don’t understand the challenges crappy waves present. In the background of an infamous homemade surf video my girlfriend can be heard saying, “Jesse sucks a surfing.”
As a Semphonic web analyst I have spent many days with poorly implemented web analytics tools, and really they aren’t so different from waves. Not much can be done with a weak web analytics tool implementation. As an experienced tool user I can recognize an implementation’s limitations, but the untrained eye often expect more than is possible. Similar to how it is impossible to get a 15 second ride when the waves last three, you cannot report on a metric you didn’t implement.
There is one big difference between Nor Cal waves and your web analytics tool -- control. I can forgive the powers that be when bad waves roll through, but for a company that is serious about web analysis a bad implementation is unforgivable.
But wait…assuming you’re implementing Omniture SiteCatalyst, (and my not so psychic prediction says you are) Semphonic has a product that can help. Our recently revamped Getting Started Toolkit will walk you thorough developing, deploying, and testing your Omniture implementation.
Semphonic has approached writing this document first and foremost as web analysts and secondarily as Omniture experts, a perspective you will not get purely using Omniture implementation engineers. By building or crosschecking your implementation with the Toolkit you can be assured your implementation will be rich and full of analytic possibilities. Even if you are already using Omniture implementation engineers (and one again my not so physic prediction says you are) the Toolkit can give your piece of mind and save you money. With the document you should be able to more clearly understand what pieces of the implementation your staff can handle, keeping the number of Omniture consulting hours you use down. For example, the QA checklist within the Toolkit will make it easier for comprehensive QA to be done in house.
You should avoid explaining why you aren’t capturing an essential metric at all costs, so buying copy of the $895 Getting Started Toolkit should be a no brainier. Take control of your implementation and you’ll never get the sinking feeling of a surfer staring down blown out, sloppy, close out, ankle biters.