Using Web Analytics to Improve SMB Competitiveness
If you're running a midsize business, then web analytics tools are an important asset for business growth. And if you are providing IT services to a midsize business, then gaining expertise in analytics could help you to enable that growth and add an attractive skill to your resume. Every executive is used to keeping track of certain business metrics, but with so much data now generated online, it's essential to get a handle on areas such as your social media presence, your website and your general online footprint. IT administrators have a key role to play in making the petabytes of data into actionable business intelligence to promote your strategic goals.
What data is included in a good web analytics solution? Anything that relates to your online presence. When a customer reads a post on your blog, shares it on social media, follows a link to a sales page, and completes a purchase, that gives you important information. And when a customer talks about you online--whether positively or negatively--that also gives you essential feedback about your company. Your ideal analytics solution will look at everything from traffic to reputation management and will integrate that with the other information you generate internally in your business.
IT Administrators and Analytics
IT administrators key to making this happen. In fact, their role starts even before you log a single tweet or crunch a single number because the first step is to work with people across the company to identify which information you need and who needs it so you can implement the right analytics solution.
IT administrators are also heavily involved in customizing that analytics solution to help provide that information whenever and wherever it is needed. And IT administrators will have to ensure that the raw input data emerges in a form that allows users to generate reports and analyses they can rely on. A good analytics tool allows users to configure reports that make sense to them, whether it is a question of delivering an overview or getting into small details. There is also an ongoing task of fine-tuning the data collection and analysis system and importing data from both external and internal sources.
The benefit of including analytics in your business workflow is the ability to improve strategic planning and decision-making because of the availability of real-time information about customer sentiment and actions. This improved business intelligence both reduces risk and improves business performance while creating a major competitive advantage, as a recent IBM report points out.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.