Digital Analysts: Three Tips for Leading Data-Driven Change

Like it or not you are a change agent if you work in the field of analytics. If you think about the role of an analytics professional, change should be a natural consequence of your work. Focus less on that, and concentrate more on this. Stop doing that, and do more of this. Spend less there, and invest more here. In fact, your insights into the business’s inner workings and its performance put you in a privileged position to alter its trajectory for the better.

Unfortunately, insights don’t always translate into action. Analysts often don’t have as much impact on their organizations as they could have. One of the key problems is people don’t like change—individuals, teams, and organizations all resist change. When each analysis recommendation requires some form of change—small or large—resistance can be a major problem for analysts. If you feel as though it isn’t your problem when people fail to act on your brilliant analyses, you’re in denial. Your analysis journey is incomplete and unfulfilled without action. Continue reading

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Data-Driven Design: Dare to Wield the Sword of Data – Part II

In my previous article, I talked about how web design can benefit from data, and now I’d like to recommend some ways in which data can be better fused with the creative process.

Although recent studies have debunked the myth of left- and right-brained dominance, the analogy still resonates with many people. Even if you feel as though you’re hardwired one way, in order to be successful you increasingly need to use both sides of your brain. However, for many quants and creatives it can be intimidating to venture outside of their normal comfort zone. I’ve found that having a process or guide can be helpful if you’re entering unfamiliar territory. Before I explore how data can play a more prominent role, let’s evaluate the standard web design process.

As I prepared to write this blog post, I researched a number of web design processes from different interactive agencies. Most of the web design processes could be summarized as having four main steps: Continue reading

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Data-Driven Design: Dare to Wield the Sword of Data – Part I

At times, creative and data are seen as being at odds. Some designers view data as a potential barrier to their creativity and feel their designs shouldn’t be judged solely by data. Three years ago a flashpoint in the “design vs. data” debate happened when the top visual designer at Google, Douglas Bowman, left the company after being frustrated with its oppressive, data-driven approach. On his personal blog, he shared his perception that data eventually had become “a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions . . . I won’t miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data.” Continue reading

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31 Essential Quotes on Analytics and Data

Who doesn’t like a good quote? We come across interesting and useful quotes all of the time in literature, news media, entertainment, and so on. A potent, succinct quote that underlines a key point or supports an important truth can be like gold. Often the value of a quote is reinforced by who stated it such as an industry expert, a well-respected figure, or a person of notoriety, but sometimes the quote may be so good that it can stand on its own even if it came from a lesser known or even unknown source.

If you’ve read my web analytics book, you’ll know that I used quotes throughout the book to emphasize several points. I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes related to analytics and data—some that made it into the book and others that didn’t (now I’m debating why I wasn’t able to squeeze them in). If you’re evangelizing web analytics or trying to nurture a data-driven mindset at your company, I hope you’ll find these 31 quotes inspiring and helpful. Continue reading

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Analytics: 5 Key Steps to Generate Value

I recently read an interesting article from the MIT Sloan Management Review about how their research revealed a significant “information transfer gap” or chasm between capturing the data and getting people to act on the insights from the data. Their survey showed 65% of organizations felt they were effective at capturing data, but just 46% were effective at disseminating information and insights. While the research primarily focused on this issue from a big data perspective, this has been a recurring challenge for all forms of analytics—big data or small data, online data or offline data, structured data or unstructured data, etc. Continue reading

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