November 22, 2016
I spent my first six months at RJ Metrics (now Magento Business Intelligence) training and onboarding new users on the analytics platform. By far, the questions I heard most often were “What types of analyses should I be doing?” and “What types of analyses are other companies doing?” Everyone views their business as a unique and complex challenge, but I noticed that the first reaction when given a powerful business intelligence platform was often the desire to plug data into a templated analysis.
It would be great to have an answer to that question that encompasses everyone; but, honestly, it’s simply not realistic. Every business is different. Every company’s goals are unique. Sure, there are the crowd favorite analyses, such as Return on Investment (ROI) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), but to truly use analytics in a way that brings value to your business, you must take the time to understand your unique business goals and what analytics you need to help you reach them. I know that can sound intimidating, but that's why I'm here—to talk you through the process of building an analytics roadmap.
Defining Your Business Needs
Think about your short-term goals for your business. Do you want to optimize your advertising spend? Are you interested in understanding the value of clients acquired during a holiday or promotional period? Or do you want to get a clear picture of your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) over the trailing 30 days? Take a few minutes now (yes, right now) and think about this. If you’re having a hard time, start thinking about any reports that you or another member of your team are running on a regular basis in Excel or a specific platform. What are the goals of these reports? Once you have a clear picture of a few of your goals, write them down. I challenge you to start by writing down at least 3 business goals (I’ll wait).
Building Upon Your Goals
Next, identify the data you need to track your progress towards those goals. If one of your goals is to have a clear picture of your company’s KPIs over the last 30 days, identify the reports you need. Some examples could be “Number of orders over the last 30 days”, “Number of new customers over the last 30 days”, and “Revenue over the last 30 days”. For each goal you list, identify three reports you could use to analyze your progress and where you can find the data you need for those reports. This is the time to think about your goal and determine what type of data you need to take action on it. When you're identifying the specific data you need to build those reports, get as detailed as possible so you can uncover any data you need to consolidate or locate for your analyses.
Start creating your analysis! Once you have an idea of what types of analyses will be most useful to your business, the next step is easy (and fun). Build out the reports and dashboards you will use on a regular basis to make business decisions and track your progress. As your company grows and evolves, make sure you are constantly aligning your analytics with your business needs. Set a quarterly reminder on your calendar to reflect on any changes in your business and make sure those changes are reflected in your analytics.
It's important to build your analytics to meet your unique business needs. The list below organizes the key steps you'll want to take to build your analytics roadmap.
Three business goals
Three actionable reports for each business goal
Data inputs needed for each report and their location
Build your analyses
Set a reminder on your calendar to reevaluate your goals and reporting each quarter
If you're a Magento Business Intelligence user, you can start doing this in the platform right now. If you're not, here's my shameless plug to check us out and schedule your demo.