In my experience supporting Internet facing applications over the past ten years, I have observed organizations of all types (such as commercial, non-profits, education, or government) progress in their discipline to manage their Internet application service for their customers. Certainly economic forces move companies to focus on reducing cost instead of investing in growth, but the leveraging of technology also drives other trends (such as out-sourcing labor, cloud computing and visualization, and software simplicity). This convergence of business and technical market changes also provide the opportunity to strive for optimal integration of management tools, disciplines, and most importantly, metrics.
Depending on the organization and the purpose for the web site, each one will use different disciplines and tools. For instance, most Marketing organizations leverage Web Analytics to better drive insight into the marketing discipline. Ten years ago, the key metric was “visits” to answer the basic question of how many people were visiting the site. Visits would then justify the marketing expense of the site. Today, companies are doing more complex analysis to define metrics such as “Landing Page Bounce Rate”. Today’s web analytic leaders are pushing to now integrate the online and offline metrics together, trying to build more predictive and optimal models and metrics to develop leading indicators of their business.
Internet Performance Management has also established itself as a standard way to measure a site’s performance with metrics such as “Response Time” or “Availability.” These approaches provide baselines for key applications or web pages for many purposes. For example, they can provide early warning to detect problems before customers do, show Internet routing problems as they begin to happen, or determine if the ad vendor is slowing down the page. Most organizations use these tools to insure that their customers web experience are as best as possible. As more and more of the web site dis-intermediate to third parties, businesses are driving these tools to reduce time to respond to site issues and manage their service providers.
Business-driven management approaches such as Balanced Scorecards or Six Sigma have been successful in managing traditional business. With more and more web businesses adopting these business approaches, the key desire is to be able to integrate the strategies and tactics at the business, monitor the processes, and manage to success. Whether a rail company, airline, or online book store, merging the metrics and building effective dashboards is management nirvana.
For over forty years, from the mainframe to the Internet, organizations have applied frameworks to better manage their business. They started with Decision Support Systems, which then lead to Data Warehousing in the 1980’s, and then to Business Intelligence in the 1990’s, and are now moving to today’s Web Intelligence. Pooling all the internal customer care systems, billing systems, and sales management systems together, building a multi-channel view of the organization, drives Web Intelligence to optimal metrics.
All these converging business and technology threads point to the strategic goal of achieving optimal metrics. When both business and technology align and are transparent to each employee or customer, organizations can finally reach the vision of true organizational integration. This blog is all about the topics on this convergence. By striving for optimal metrics within your organization, your employees and customers will excel in their online experience and love to return.