Sunday, October 12, 2008

Web Analytics is Business Intelligence

I had a chance to participate an eye opener (at least for me) event, Affecto's Business Intelligence Forum 2008. In my mind, there's no question about it whether the web analytics is business intelligence or not. I don't see any reason why these two fields should be developed separately in the future.

Especially when you're having multiple data sources and that's probably the situation in many cases. Maybe in a dream world one system could handle it all, but in many cases we have to collect the data from different systems or databases and in some cases, unfortunately, we have to do it manually...

I asked from the panel how they see web analytics as a part of business intelligence and I got a straight answer from Juha Teljo who is country manager at Cognos: "Of course web analytics data has to be in, especially when companies are doing eCommerce". I couldn't agree more, and I think we have so many common things, as we both:
  • collect data from internal and external sources
  • define key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • try to do it in systematic way (process)
  • value people who analyze the collected data
  • try to benefit from best practices
  • use competitive data for benchmarking
  • try to find people for analyzing the collected data
  • try to improve quality of information
  • try to get more insights and better understanding for business decision making
According to Aguilar (1967) the most beneficial information is the one has been defined necessary and the information which is really needed. And that is not always the case with clickstream data which is automatically collected by several web analytics systems.

One very critical and important phase in analytics or business intelligence is to define business goals and what kind of information is needed. Accoring to web analytics business process white paper from Web Analytics Demystified:
"Your business objectives define your web analytics reporting needs: Objectives create the framework against which you measure visitor activities, and visitor activities are the basis for all of your metrics and key performance indicators."
According to professor Mika Hannula from Tampere University of Technology, there are three kind of companies:
  • those who make things happen
  • those who watch things happen
  • those who wonder what happened
So, what kind of company you're working at? : )