Week Notes: no data, no truth

The next post in a series of Week Notes from our Deputy Director of Digital Experience, Rhiannon Davies.

Find out more about what ‘week notes’ and ‘working in the open’ are, and why they’re great.

Data and Analytics has definitely been the theme for this week, both in terms of things I’ve been working on, and things I’ve been thinking about…

Slightly wonky GDS data posters stuck on our office wall. One says "Better data, better decisions" and the other says "No data, no truth"
Slightly wonky GDS data posters stuck on our office wall.

Working on:

  • Establishing a data-led practice for content monitoring and optimisation – I’ve been writing the brief ready for my wonderful Content Design colleague Nick to kick off the activity (a just reward for getting on the case and being the first in the team to get a Google Accreditation for GA4 – go Nick!). We’re planning on a quick sprint to set up regular automated reporting, cross-functional data reviews, and setting up workflows from the risks and opportunities these bring up.
  • Recruiting a Digital Analytics Manager – or rather, struggling to. We need someone to lead our digital analytics practices and services, improve organisation-wide capability, and get their hands dirty with the tools and data. If you know anyone who likes to get geeky over GA4, and has Hotjar hutzpah (sorry, couldn’t resist) let me know!
  • Finishing up Phase One of our GA4 Project – Our Senior Digital Delivery and Performance Manager Timea, and our Google Analytics 4 consultant Kyle, have been working with colleagues across the organisation over the past few months to make sure there was no dip in service when GUA stopped collecting data. The did a “knock it out of the ballpark” job, even managing to incorporate writing guidance to enable our wider network of colleagues to use GA4 (UoB staff only), review of our access and governance, and started to bring more UoB properties onto the main account, so we can move closer to tracking end-to-end journeys.
  • Planning the next phase of our GA4 (and digital analytics more widely) enabling work – Now we’ve used the GA4 transition as an opportunity for a spot of housekeeping, we’re ready to really drive data-driven decision making and performance reporting for our digital services. So far, we’re thinking about more template dashboards (and incorporating data from our other tools like Sitebulb and Hotjar), onboarding more of the key properties from across the UoB estate, and setting up a peer-to-peer community of practice.
  • Running SEO and Accessibility Sitebulb audits, and identifying critical issues to tackle. Wow these take a long time when you’ve got a big website!
  • MVP Topline Dashboard – This has been on my To Do list since I started. My dream is a dashboard that covers performance, and flags up key risks and opportunities, across the estate, and for each key business area, that gets emailed automatically on a regular basis to key stakeholders. We got the first version set up this week – still a long way to go, but it feels like a really positive step forward.
  • Supporting The Grid with working out what data they need – I love working with this team, so it’s been great supporting them with their work to set up tracking, turning it into meaningful action and communication for stakeholders.

Thinking about:

  • Why so many good intentions about setting up reporting often fails – I find people get in tangle trying to find metrics that work for everyone/ all purposes. This model from Gartner is really helpful for unblocking this.
    Pyramid model of marketing metics from Gartner.
  • There are many different meanings of the words “data” and “analytics”, and it’s always good to check you’re on the same page as the person you’re having a conversation with.
  • Will it really make a difference? In my experience the more an organisation talks about the need to be data-driven, the less likely they are to actually, a) look at the data, b) base their decision or activity on the data. If it’s already happening, there’s no need to talk about it.

Useful links for University of Bristol staff only:

Also read: “Is data the only way to identify priorities”

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