Rebel! Refuse Report Requests. Only Answer Business Questions, FTW

Web Analytics Rock Star Avinash Kaushik writes:

Try this.

Ask a famous blogger, a published author, a random twitterer or your mom
how to succeed in web analytics, or how not to be a Reporting Squirrel.
The answer will invariably be:

Before you provide the data, ask the requestor what is the business question they are trying to answer. Then fulfill that need.

It is a good answer.

Most of the time they, Marketers /bosses /HiPPO’s, ask and we puke data out.

The result is also almost always the same.

After a while of doing this you, poor Squirrel, want to jump off a building.
As if that was not painful enough, during the course of your employment
the company made no actual decisions based on web analytics data.


I call it a lose-lose.

If the outcome is so obvious. . . why do we still have this problem? Why
is it that we don’t ask for the magical thing you were told to ask since
the day you were born into this world? Business questions.

Part of it is that we might not be in the position to ask for that question (I don’t buy this 80% of the time, sorry).

Part of it is the case that we don’t often understand the difference between
a business question and a report request. Even for experienced Analysts
/ Consultants.

Let’ us solve this problem today.

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