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What happens when 200 analytics consultants meet in London?
|8th April 2014
This post was written for Blue Latitude Health by optimisation expert Alec Cochrane.
A few weeks ago, two hundred analytics folk from all industries met in London for MeasureCamp. Now in its fourth iteration, this unconference aims at getting large numbers of practitioners and experts together and then letting them present, discuss and debate their analytics knowledge with others in the community. The conference organisers, (including me), set up the venue, provide the sponsors, ensure everyone is fed and watered and - through strict timing - make sure the day runs smoothly whilst the participants provide all the content.
What is an Unconference?
The rules are simple:
- There are no pre-prepared presentations, so anyone can turn up on the day and ‘present’ to groups in rooms with capacities from 80 people down to just twelve.
- There are no limits to what can go on in a session (although we do tend to frown on veiled sales pitches), so you can present, you can have a discussion around something you were working on that week or you can have a Crystal Maze style game show (yes, that did happen, no you didn't imagine it).
- The rule of two feet: if you don’t think that a session is for you, then feel free to leave and join another session.
What sessions did I attend?
- Which tool is right for which situation, where we discussed the merits of different analytics systems: the features are more or less the same, so you should work out where your company is going in the next five years and match it up to where the company who makes the tool is going,just like you should with your tag management tool. Be careful though, many of us have been burnt by a HBX or a TagMan that has been bought out and you've slowly been shifted to a new system that you may not want.
- A useful discussion on whether SEO is really just UX now, which led into a great conversation about whether behavioural targeting segments should be included in personas to help get buy-in from the business (my opinion is that it shouldn't, as personas should serve different purposes earlier on in the service design process).
- A user’s perspective of how the implementation of the tag management tool Tealium should proceed: the general consensus is that Tealium is currently market leader but that the interface isn't that user friendly, meaning it is still a tool for technical people.
- A discussion on the value of first party cookie data management and what information should be stored in them given the recent changes in the law and the way that Google Universal works (only an ID is stored in the cookie and all other data is linked up in the tool). This was linked in with data privacy and whether something was right legally as well as morally (I linked this to a story of my parents who, after an absence of ten years returned to a curry house they used to frequent only to be greeted by the owner with “Hello Mr and Mrs Cochrane, would you like your usual table?”).
- Finally I was part of a panel who responded to several questions about how to set KPIs, how they linked to business objectives and the strategy of the organisation.
This year for the first time, we also organised a series of training courses for the day before the conference aimed at those with experience of analytics but looking to learn more. I ran a training course on business objectives and KPIs, where I took the users through the ways that Blue Latitude Health create a measurement framework by identifying business objectives, critical success factors, and KPIs.
In this methodology, the resulting KPIs directly relate to the things that the business is trying to achieve, rather than just ‘shoehorning’ metrics that the analytics tool produces, as a standard, into slightly obscured tactics. This not only allows you to show that your KPIs represent business value, but also highlight the ways that your company is achieving their objectives in a visual representation. This stops people from producing their own KPIs that don’t represent an overall business objectives, and can often help identify where tactics are missing the purpose of the organisation or just missing altogether.
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