Continuing my series of interviews with Web Analyst here is an interview with Ravi Pathak.
What is your current position and the name of the company you work for.
Business Intelligence Associate at Trilogy Inc.
How long have you been working in web analytics field?
A little over a year now.
Tell me about your work, education prior to web analytics.
In general,I did my Graduation in Business (MBA) prior to joining Hitachi in India. I worked as Business Analyst in Business Strategy Group. I was involved corporate budgeting. Measuring /Creating EVA standards of different businesses of Hitachi and some typical consulting projects like revenue forecasting, customer behavior analysis for new products. I worked as Equity analyst too for some time after that.
Why did you decided to switch to Web Analytics?
It was more of accidental then, planned one.
Tell me more about it.
Well, It was interesting, I relocated to center of IT in India, then I got offer from Trilogy to work in Business Intelligence area. It took 2 months, for recruitment but Trilogy takes time and tries to find best. Since, I wasn't very sure what the web analytics is ( apart from measuring my traffic on my blog) , it was more of having critical thinking ability(as my manager now describes) then knowing all about website and usability.
What are you responsibilities in your current position? Describe your typical work day.
Making sure that whatever new functionalities goes gets tagged properly
Measuring effectiveness of new functionalities, new releases, new pages on various KPIs. Creating dashboards for different stakeholders or our clients.
Extended responsibility is to help creating data driven decision making culture.
Being in sync with corporate standards for WA tool implementation.
Getting data insights and prepare learning one pager for new functionalities
Specifically, my day starts with looking at all alerts email from WA tool. Assures me a cup of coffee (or a night out may be!!). Then I read bunch of emails from WA yahoo group, couple of blog RSS to see what's going on.
Then more of day specific activities start. Currently its evaluating all tagging on different websites and writing specs, goals sheet to improve them and then ,creating stable reporting environment. Frankly, I have really had a hard time being able to generate huge no. of insights from data which should be the goal, but none the less we are making progress.
What, if any, education or work experience helped you in making this transition?
Blogging helped. I used to blog about my equity analysis. Then someone told me about google analytics and I started using its basics. So, I knew basics what pageview ,visit, visitors is all about.
Moreover, I was hired on the basis of having more business context in general rather then having typical web analytics background. I second this, knowing technology does helps, but knowing basics of business definitely helps to think through it web analytics. Having number crunching background also helped to look for any story that data has to tell.
Moreover, We have a guy called Mark Coleman in different division at our clients place ,who is kind of mentor in all work we do, so having someone to guide us through is extremely helpful in web analytics where its easy to say, "I don't know", but hard to answer how would you know that??
What education is lacking, education or experience that would have helped?
I feel , I lack coding experience. Had I known basics of coding, I would have gasped technical issues related to my WA tool relatively fast.
What web analytics/online-marketing books have you read and/or own?
Web Analytics Demystified
Big book of KPIs
Prints collection of at least 8 blogs I read.
Planning to own books by Jason, Avinash , Jim .
What were the major challenges you are facing in this industry?
1. Culture of data driven decision making.
2. Strongly inculcated process of web analytics being integrated with development
How do you make sure you are learning and growing in this field?
I read blogs/Webs/Newsletters of following people Jim Sterne, Avinash, Eric, Gary , Anil , Stephen, Tim o'reilly, Jason, Matt Belkin , Steven Levitt etc. Also, sometimes, I browse thru old messages of WA yahoo group.
I have prepared/accumulated the list of podcast/webcast about web analytics.( I can share it if anyone wants—5 of them are available)
What is your advice to aspiring web analysts?
If you don't have experience with web analytics, create a blog about anything and start measuring it. Knowing basic metrics are greatly helpful.
Read as many blogs as you can on web analytics (above mentioned mandatory once). Also it is extremely helpful to read old posts. I have come of a belief that web analytics practitioners are very humble and helpful. You can ask all the people who have blog and they are super responsive.
I would strongly recommend a book called Freakonomicto all analytics professionals in general .It tells what all data can really tell you! That's what we do right?
Join WAA. It augments your networking and you can reach out to like-minded and extremely helpful guys out there.
I wouldn't understate importance of networking. If one is new to web analytics, go to WAW(if you don't have a going on in your city-create one).