In last 8 years, every project we have worked on in the ecommerce industry had an aggressive timeline associated with it with no scope for cost creep but, that should not be a justification for excluding analytics from the scope of the project.
If you hear these kinds of justifications from your ecommerce service provider then, it’s absolutely clear that still, analytics is not fully ingrained in to the software development lifecycle process. Just like many other vendors in the industry, your ecommerce service provider treats analytics like any other product because, their developers are writing a code and QA is testing that code, and in simply technology terms, there is a cost incurred to enable analytics on the website and that should be billed to the client.
But, if you go to core of the problem, you would find both parties responsible for this issue. Let us share with you some of the common mistakes being made by both parties when a new project is submitted.
Mistakes from Brands and Retailers: -
- Lack of aggressiveness from the brand and retailers end to include analytics in to the project.
Often times, when the project is submitted, the goals and the success metrics associated with the project are often not clearly defined in the requirements document. Following are the 4 common reasons behind this:
- Business team didn’t work on the project goals and metrics before submitting the project.
- Business team worked on the goals and metrics but, didn’t feel a need for sharing with the project team because; they have a perception that, their project team is highly technical and doesn’t have any analytical skills.
- Every project that goes to production should have analytics component included in it. It’s a common sense!! This perception of the retailers and brands is not in sync with their project team.
- In the past, having analytics component included in the project delayed the launch process so; there is no point repeating the same mistake. This kind of an attitude gives edge to the ecommerce service provider and they stop taking analytics seriously.
Mistakes from Ecommerce Service Provider: -
- Still, majority of the ecommerce service providers in the market treat; analytics as any other product on their platform. This is one of the biggest flaws in their thought process. Analytics should not be treated as a separate product but infact, it should be considered as one of the checkpoints in the launch process just like, QA comes after development and development comes after system design.
- Since, analytics is not fully ingrained in to the software development lifecycle process, often times, project teams do not ask questions regarding business reports and metrics.
Controlling cost and gaining efficiency is one of the most important goals for any ecommerce service provider in the industry. In order to achieve that goal, lot of efforts gets made every year to productize each and every solution on the platform so that, a standard and economical product offering could be rolled out.
While creating these standard product offerings, every effort gets made to avoid dependency on other products and solutions including analytics so that, the cost can be controlled and rollout should be efficient and bug free. For example, you went to your ecommerce service provider and asked them to enable Reviews and Ratings system from Bazaarvoice and since, your ecommerce service provider has a standard rollout process for Bazaarvoice with no analytics component embedded in it, you get no reporting in your analytics solution for this feature. If you ask your vendor, why didn’t they bake the cost of analytics in the reviews and ratings solution? You would get the following responses:
- Not every brand and retailer on our platform has analytics on their website so; we can’t have 2 distinct reviews and ratings offering one with analytics and one without analytics.
- Not every brand and retailer on our platform has a similar analytics solution so; we can’t have distinct offering for each analytics solution on our platform.
We have met lot of project teams in the past, who have no analytical skills and hate to work on analytics related projects because, testing these projects require good product knowledge, and they don’t find it interesting going to the reporting tool and validate the data because, that’s the job of the business team and they are not responsible for how the data gets presented. This kind of attitude and negligence often results in analytics excluded from the scope of the project. Isn’t it sad?