Within the digital industry, the distinction between web analytics and reporting is obvious. However, in multi-channel businesses, that is not where the battle is being fought. It is between Web Analysts and Marketing, or Web Analysts and Operations.
MI data is essential for a business, equally for online as for offline. It lets the business know how it’s competing and where the focus should be. However, the room for complexity and interpretation isn’t as wide and is more black and white.

Web Analytics data is a lot richer and open to further analysis. It is about the use of behavioural data, as if a store could employ an individual person to follow every customer about the store, noting down what products they had seen and how long they spent at each aisle. The application of this type of data is a source of competitive advantage for the best Retail companies, like Amazon and Tesco.

A Web Analyst, therefore, is far removed from an MI Analyst. The fully rounded Web Analyst requires the technical knowledge of a web developer with the investigative skills of Sherlock Holmes. The skill set is quite different and businesses need to understand and reflect it in the type of tasks they assign to both.

What is important is for those in the digital industry to realise that this battle is far from being won in the majority of companies, especially those with an offline background.

Web analytics, as a nascent business area, is still often headed by those who don’t understand it, and want to treat it the same as any other reporting function. We are probably still 10-15 years away from Analytics regularly being headed by those who understand it fundamentally.

In the meantime, fight the good battle, find the big wins from the data and remember to not become complacent