shutterstock_47400502.jpg How to staff for analytics seems to be a front and center concern for many enterprises today. It doesn't matter whether there's been zero resources dedicated to digital analytics or whether there's a staff in place. Figuring out whom to hire in order to manage analytics is a big question.

When I had my first full-time analytics position in 1997, I managed a loose team consisting of an analyst/system admin, server admin and DBA. In addition to being the project manager, I also served as an analyst/system admin and business analyst. The server admin and DBA roles were driven by the nature of our log file-based analytics solution. We were in IT.

JavaScript-based data collection led to the fall away of server admin and DBA and the move from IT to marketing. This led to analytics teams often consisting of one person -- a combined analyst/system admin who was also supposed to manage developer resources in IT to properly tag a site for data collection.

This model has been changing over the last few years because the digital channel now consists of web, social and mobile, and recognition that digital data needs to be combined with offline data, such as customer records, and offline touch points such as call center interaction.

So, who should be on your analytics dream team? Let's consider that this team will comprise a center of excellence or program office and that this entity will be part of your digital team, or the marketing department or maybe even BI or research.

I'm often asked whether analytics should be in marketing or IT. Frankly, I think it often depends on the dynamics of the organization. My first analytics position was in IT, and we thrived because we had a clear understanding for how we were to work with marketing and content development. I know other analytics groups that are in marketing, but most of the marketers are offline marketers and don't "get" digital. So, you need to be thinking about digital literacy and overall organizational governance when determining where analytics "sits."

Regarding the staff, here's how it could shape up:

  • VP, Analytics
    • Manages the overall digital analytics program.
    • Manages analytics team, vendors and consultants
    • Primary interface between analytics team, management and peer groups
    • Leads advocacy on the use of analytics to senior leadership

This role is pure management, not a position where there is an expectation to run a program and do analysis work. The role, like the center of excellence, is based on managing the scope of analytics -- not just digital, but also testing, user experience and marketing analytics.

The overall goal is to leverage the compatibility and value of the multiple analytics disciplines. Analytics drives successful testing, targeting and personalization programs. Putting these disciplines within one program provides the impetus for coordination of the analytics … something that rarely occurs in organizations today.

Digital Analytics Team

This team handles management and execution of reporting, dashboard creation and analysis of web, mobile and social measurement, as well as the ability to develop training and provide appropriate support to both analytics consumers and power users of the solutions.

  • Director, Digital Analytics
    • Manages metrics requirements process, reporting, training and support.
    • Manages development of analytics standards for data collection, dashboards, metrics development
  • Analysts -- Social Media, SEO, SEM, Email, Mobile, A/B & Multi-Variate Testing
    • Conducts metrics requirements process, reporting, interpretation and support.
    • Performs deep dive analysis with selected tools.
    • Coordinates admin privileges and provides support on selected solutions.
  • Trainer -- a consideration for national and international programs with high number and de-centralized stakeholders
    • Develops training curriculum.
    • Provides and coordinates analytics training.
    • Holds post-report interpretive analysis training sessions with stakeholders.
    • Manages digital analytics user groups.

User Experience Team

Management and execution of usability testing and surveys.

  • Director, User Experience and Satisfaction
    • Manages user experience testing and online/offline surveying, reporting, training and support.
    • Manages development of standards and protocols for testing and surveys.
  • Usability Testers
  • Survey Developers and Analysts

Marketing Analytics Team

Team works with digital data and offline visitor data to create integrated analyses that may be used for Return on Investment and segmentation models that drive marketing and product development strategies. Also, works with integrating data from Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Automation and Call Center systems into their models.

  • Director, Marketing Analytics
    • Leads efforts to develop ROI analysis and deep dives into digital and offline data.
    • Manages development, testing and rollout of ROI and segmentation models.
  • Data Analysts

Digital Analytics Technology Team

Digital analytics technology infrastructures may include a dozen solutions: web analytics, mobile analytics, social media listening, video analytics, API plug ins, heat maps, surveys, call center analytics, email analytics, b2b lead gen solutions, A/B and multi-variate testing, panel research systems and tag management. Thinking back to my first analytics team, the scenario is somewhat similar. You need to ensure that all of these systems are going to get the care and feeding they need to provide digital analytics insight.

Who is going to look after all of these systems? Is IT going to provide the support for all of this and work cooperatively with the analytics program office? Perhaps; but another solution would be to have the analytics program office manage these technologies either independently or with IT support.

  • Director, Digital Analytics Technology
    • Manages the DA technology infrastructure and architecture
    • Plans system requirements.
    • Manages vendor selection, implementations and integrations.
    • Works with IT and business intelligence groups to create data collection and processing standards.
    • Develop a QA process for data integrity
    • Develop a process for vetting applicants requesting access to analytics services.
  • System Administrators, Database Administrators

Finally, I recommend consideration of a Project Manager as an eventual hire. One of the mistakes that I see occurring with start-up Digital Analytics Centers of Excellence is the mindset that everyone can do everything. This is what can quickly cause bottlenecks in production and throughput of projects as the analytics program scales and rolls out through the organization. Consider offloading tasks that are administrative and support-oriented to a dedicated project/knowledge manager that is dedicated to:

  • Reviewing intake forms to determine appropriate analytics team members for project.
  • Managing Standard Operating Procedure development.
  • Managing the Digital Analytics Knowledge Center Portal.
  • Coordinating meetings, teams, resources.
  • Developing and managing project plans.
  • Tracking budget and team metrics.
  • Maintaining issues list, follows up and escalations on complex, long term projects.

With the addition of the Project Manager, the rest of your team will be able to maximize the use of their subject matter knowledge and strengthen the Center of Excellence’s abilities to take on additional projects that are more complex.

Think that this is too much for your organization? If you are serious about using digital data and then integrating with offline data -- essentially moving to realize the promise of “Big Data” -- you will need to start budgeting for the resources and operations to make it happen. The time to start planning is now.

PS -- If you’re in the Washington DC area, you’ll want to check out the Digital Analytics Association Symposium on June 4 Using Multi-Channel Analytics to Tell the Right Story to the Right People on the Right Platform.

Title image courtesy of Spartak (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To get more of Phil's analytics insights, read his Web Analytics KPIs = BS