What does a Digital Analytics department do?

So, what does a Digital/Web Analytics department actually do? Ultimately my belief is we're product owners of the "Optimisation Platform". The definition of this platform being a combination of; analytics, optimisation, tagging, survey and delivery systems. So for me this means; Adobe Analytics, Target, Dynamic Tag Manager, Qualtrics, Clicktale & Experience Manager.

Developing a roadmap

Strategy and developing a roadmap is at the heart of product ownership and for the "Optimisation Platform" this is a combination of implementation advancements and optimisation execution. Making experimentation, reporting and analysis easy should be a primary dimension of our role. Easy access to data means more insight, likewise easy experimentation should mean increased test volume and wins. My roadmap includes optimisation execution and analytics/optimisation/delivery implementation improvements. We as a department outline the implementation projects whereas the optimisation execution side of the roadmap is a collaborative effort with other stakeholders from the business, they have ideas for experiments, in addition we fill the roadmap with experiments and personalisation projects that are based on data and good ol' fashioned creative reviews. Ultimately our roadmap is about driving; measurement, analysis and optimisation.

Snapshot of an example roadmap document:

What else is there to do?

Analysis Sound analysis should be the basis for much of what gets added to the roadmap for experiment execution. Other types of autonomous based analysis may not require being part of an experiment, in addition there will most likely be requests from the business for ad hoc analysis which sometimes requires vetting.
Quality Assurance This is an interesting topic, there's the obvious need of validating tracking before release, however there's also the QA requirement for experiments and personalisation campaigns. Many companies will have centralised QA departments but getting them involved with A/B, MVT or personalisation campaigns could be challenging, so I believe this should be a task for the digital analytics department who'll fully understand the underlying technology, tracking and targeting. Ultimately this could mean some interesting conversations with your IT department!
Reporting No surprises with this one. The burden or report requests can be reduced with well planned dashboards. Our department's reports generally focus on data integrity such as unknown revenue/goals, monitoring of live experiments, browser compatibility, server calls.
Tracking With the advent of Tag Management Systems gone are the days of having to work with IT for changing tracking codes, so this pillar can firmly be entrenched within the Digital Analytics team. Maintaining the "Optimisation Platform" will often require technical know-how so having an individual/s that understands JavaScript, networking and how your systems work will be useful.
Training & Support This covers all areas of the platform; identify the individuals/teams that will benefit from ongoing training and those that are more suited for top line dashboards.


How does this compare with what you're doing? Please add your thoughts and comments below, some conversations from Twitter so far: