The Analysis Exchange was launched by Eric Peterson and Web Analytics Demystified as an opportunity to help grow the web analytics profession and offer career development opportunities to new web analytics professionals. The concept of the Analysis Exchange is to pair a web analytics student with a professional web analytics mentor and to work on a project for non-profits or NGOs. All parties benefit from the program and there is no monetary investment.
I held the student role when I completed the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics program and now have the opportunity to provide mentorship to other students through the Analysis Exchange. The UBC program is excellent however there is a gap between learning the concepts, techniques and best practices and actually getting the opportunity to apply your knowledge in the business world. Companies are looking to hire analysts with professional experience and a track record of success so after completing the courses it is difficult to prove yourself as a new hire. The Analysis Exchange offers a way to bridge that gap and provide students with that next step towards a career in web analytics.
Swellpath Interactive signed up as a mentor for the Analysis Exchange and was paired with a student and local Portland non-profit, Schoolhouse Supplies. We collaborated with the student and Schoolhouse Supplies to define a project that was achievable to accomplish in the suggested 3 week time frame. Based on an assessment of the website and of the current configuration of their Google Analytics account, it was decided that the final deliverable would be to build a weekly KPI report. The report would then be built out into a PowerPoint deck to deliver on a weekly basis to Schoolhouse Supplies and include analysis of the data by the student. In our particular case, the student works for Schoolhouse Supplies so they will be able to continue the reporting after the project development work is over.
Some issues that came up during the project were mostly focused around technical and development resources available in-house for Schoolhouse Supplies and configuration issues with Google Analytics. These types of issues can occur in any business engagement as well so we just worked with the resources and functionality that we had. Schoolhouse Supplies was taking its first steps towards analytics reporting so any data they can pull and report on was a step in the right direction.
The student that we worked with was very responsive and timely as I set forth action items and deadlines to keep the project moving. The initial objective for the student was to define the goals of the website and then determine which of those goals were measurable within their current Google Analytics installation. From there we moved on to develop the framework of the KPI report and created an analytics tagging guideline document to address the issues where we weren’t collecting the data we needed. Fortunately, Schoolhouse Supplies has a developer on their Board of Directors to help with the tagging implementation. The final deliverable is a PowerPoint presentation where the student includes an overview of the weekly data, trended graphs of the data with the student’s analysis and a slide of recommendations and action items for the Schoolhouse Supplies key stakeholders.
After the project is completed, each party evaluates the performance of everyone’s efforts. Students will receive a score on their project work to help quantify their performance to help build their resume with real experience. Each party can then move on to join another project.
This has been a great program to get involved with and a great concept to help further the web analytics profession. Swellpath Interactive has been offering voluntary services to community non-profits over the years working with the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and the Surfrider Foundation. The Analysis Exchange is another great program for Swellpath to partner with and we encourage other analytics professionals, agencies and students to get involved.