Inspirational Video: Creating a Data Driven Culture by Avinash Kaushik

I was inspired to write this post this evening after looking at my LinkedIn social graph and seeing the recent career arcs of some of my former colleagues (more on this later).

This post is to thank and highlight a video from a person that has had a tremendous amount of influence to my career: Avinash Kaushik.  This video was recorded back in 2007, and talks about a topic that is near and dear to my heart:

Culture.

In the wrong context or to the wrong people, talking about “culture” causes people’s eyes to glaze over.  Based on my experience, I am no longer one of those people. My tale of developing a data-driven culture in a large corporation follows:

In 2006, I accepted a position as a Senior Manager of Web Analytics for a large business services firm.  As the product manager of the organization’s enterprise-wide web analytics software and data collection framework, I had my hands full developing a data capture and reporting framework as part of a complete web reboot by the company.  Although implementing an enterprise click stream tool as well as a framework for web data integration into the company’s data warehouse was a technically complex task, it was fairly straightforward once the requirements were determined.

What was not straightforward, however, was how to develop a data-driven culture in regards to how the company used its web data.

The organization had nine different, quasi-independent business units with about thirty-five different web sites.  Nobody from the business units was focused on web analytics, however, each business unit had a web team that was focused on managing the content on the sites.  My goal was to transform those positions from content managers into data driven product managers of their web sites.

So how did I attempt to accomplish this?  I empowered the web managers with their own data. I trained the web teams on both our clickstream and data warehouse tools and gave them the ability to independently develop actionable insight about their clients’ web usage.

Less than a year later, these managers could look at both individual and aggregate customer data and determine how specific web-based activity affected their business units’ bottom line. They had total visibility into all of the company’s marketing data, allowing them to explore the data and develop objective arguments for action.

Looking at my social graph on LinkedIn, I see that, three years later, some have moved into different roles either within or outside of the firm, but at least four of those former web managers have moved on to be web analysts, two with a top-tier web analytics consulting firm.

My approach here was directly influenced by Avinash’s first book, blog, and talks that he was giving at the time.  His guidance was, and continues to be, useful and inspirational for the entire online marketing community.

Creating a Data Driven Culture by Avinash Kaushik