Continuing my series of Interview with Analysts, here is my interview with Jaisri Chety.
What is your current position and the name of the company you work for?
I am working at present in Tesco.com as Asst. Manager (Insight)
How long have you been working in Web Analytics?
I have been working in the dotcom industry right from 2000. I started my career in CricInfo.com, where I had a fantastic initiation into the dotcom industry. I was handling corporate communications here, which included advertising and public relations. This is where I implemented advanced online advertising techniques and was initiated into a very crude form of web analytics. After the dotcom bust, I gained some experience in conventional advertising. However returned back to online advertising in 2004. I joined BharatMatrimony.com as campaign manager. BharatMatrimony was one of the leading advertisers in the online medium in India. Here I handled the complete advertising budget and was given the task of optimizing effectively for every buck spent on the Internet. Subsequently, I had a very brief stint in an online advertising firm called Regalix, before I moved to present job in Tesco.
Tell me about your work, education prior to making a switch
Before entering into the online industry, I was in a completely different profession. I completed my education in commerce from a reputed college in Chennai – Stella Maris College and had also done a course in advertising, from the Madras Advertising Club.
I started my career as a professional cricketeer with the Southern Railways. I had taken to the sport right from my school days, I had played at the state and zonal level at both junior and senior level. I had been a wicketkeeper – batswoman and played at the highest-level national championships representing Tamil Nadu and South Zone. I realized that my scope was limited at getting selected to play for India, as I was a wicket keeper and the Indian team already had an established wicketkeeper. And my only chance existed if this player performed poorly. Instead of waiting for someone to fail, I thought I should choose the other passion of mine, which was online advertising.
Wow that was a big change from Cricket to Online Advertising. Tell me about your move to Web Analytics, how did that transition happen?
My role in BharatMatrimony was to optimize and justify the online advertising spend. This not only meant that I had to negotiate and clinch the best deals, also how we used these ad units and got the maximum returns from them.
Here I realized once we got the audience from the various sites, it was equally important to sell the proposition on the site and keep them engaged for succeeding. Hence I started different CRM programs, which included various email campaigns and on-the-site experience tasks.
To gauge the effectiveness of this combined effort of online advertising, CRM and site improvements, I needed a tool; that is when I started researching the various web analytic service vendors. At that time WebTrends was one vendor who had a sales force in India and the support system. Hence I persuaded the top management on the need for a web analytics solution and they realized the potential and invested in the systems and software.
From 2005, I have been using different web analytical solutions.
How did you find your current job? How long did it take?
One my colleagues from an earlier firm who was working in Tesco, referred my profile to the employer, as they were looking for a senior person to manage their analytics team. The interview process took nearly 2 and half months as there were various rounds, the HR, operations manager, Sr. manager in UK and the business head.
What are you responsibilities in your current job?
I handle a team of analysts, in the Insight team. We are responsible for having a sense check on the performance of the business on daily and weekly basis by running various reports. This includes running, querying and retrieving data from the data warehouse, formatting the same, draw inference and present it to the various users of these reports. The scope includes reporting on category-based performance, performance of the various marketing channels like email, online advertising and CRM. It also includes site intelligence, which is web analytics software. Apart from the regular reporting we do various adhoc reporting and analysis on customer behavior changes, uplift of sales due to activities, targeting specific audience, etc.
What are the skills that you think are important for a web analyst?
In my opinion a web analyst needs to understand the data and site dynamics of their particular website. Should have decent technical knowledge, good customer focus and attention to details. Should intuitively pick insight from an otherwise burgeoning deluge of data.
What, if any, education or work experience helped you in making this transition.
My experience in online advertising and decent technical knowledge helped me in making this transition.
What education is lacking, education or experience that would have helped in Web Analytics?
If I had more structured technical education, it would have made my transition smoother.
What web analytics/online-marketing books have you read and/or own?
I have read and own "Web Analytics Demystified" and "Website Measurement Hack" by Eric Peterson
Which book(s) have you helped in your new job or finding new job?
The "Website Measurement Hack" acts as my reference, as I keep going back to this book if I run into any technical issues.
What were the major challenges you are facing in this industry?
The challenges in this industry is that it is rapidly emerging and growing, hence one needs to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn
How do you make sure you are learning and growing in this field?
I am regular on the yahoo web analytics forum and read up the various blogs of Eric Peterson, Avinash Kaushik and also try to organize a "Web analytics Wednesday" meetings here in Bangalore
Do you have blog? If yes, what kind of article do you write?
I do have a blog its called http://web-scapes.blogspot.com. I try to write on my understanding of web analytics, though I must confess I am not a regular.
One unrelated question, What do you think of Indian teams disaster in World Cup 2007? What is your advice to selectors or the team members?
In my opinion the Indian team is lacking in team spirit and coming together for a higher cause like winning for you country. They tend to place more importance on getting their individual scores, breaking records or proving a point to themselves or to someone else about their position in the team. Rather than spending time and effort in such detrimental attitude, if they can come together as just cricketers (shedding their star status) and played with passion, drive and above all character, we would form a better team.
My advice to selectors would be to pick a cricketer with not only by assessing them on the potential but also on their (right) attitude.
Thank you for your time.