I've been reflecting, lately, on a major web analytics tool migration project that I recently saw through to completion. To be honest it was not a simple task. As the news of Omniture's acquisition of Visual Sciences sinks in, I realize that we as an industry have got a few tool migration projects brewing. Maybe more than a few.
Faced with the prospect of this work, and in the spirit of optimism, I'd like to mention some of the positive outcomes of a tool migration project. Even if it is a giant hassle it can be quite beneficial in the end. Here's why:
- Get the big picture. If you've had the same measurement system for quite a while, chances are you've got data trickling out in all directions. Switching tools means that you'll have to take stock of all downstream destinations. Nothing quite like this exercise to show you just how widely used your data actually is.
- Clean house. Got something that's broken? Who doesn't. No matter how great your existing system is, something could stand to be improved. Now's your chance to fix a misconfigured tag element, update a report, or kill off a feed that's gone stale.
- Build trust. Repeat after me, "Watch the trend, not the absolute," and, "Data quality sucks, get over it." Right? Some people will always question the integrity of web activity data. When you make the switch you'll have to reconcile your numbers to some extent, but it also gives you renewed opportunity to show just how confident you are that the data is sound, valid, and worthy of business decision-making.
- Cultivate skills. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to add a bullet point to the skills section of their resume? A new tool means new opportunity for web analysts, and it can be a refreshing change for those who've been working with the same tools for a long time.
Go on, call me a pollyanna - I'm being mighty optimistic. I know we've got an unexpected load of work sprung upon us, and it's going to take a while to get through it all. But I really do think we'll come out of it in better shape than we're in now.