7 Steps You Need to Prove ROI with Analytics: Part II

Analytics | February 19, 2016

Part II: The Difference Between Trusted and Untrusted Data is a Simple Learning Curve

This blog is a three part series. In Part I, we covered the first two steps in the process that leads to the intelligence required for successful implementation and the collection of trusted data. Here in Part II, we will cover what a successful implementation looks like to get trusted data prior to proving ROI. Part III will discuss drawing key insights leading to actions that will directly prove ROI.

Data is one of the most useful digital assets an organization has. Think of it this way: analytics is the engine and data is the fuel that powers better business decisions. But most companies can’t show an ROI from analytics because they are not following the right path to get there.

I believe these are the 7 essential steps:

Education→ Capabilities→ Implementation→ Trusted Data→ Insight→ Action→ ROI

Everyone needs to start with step one and work through the process. Skipping any of the steps will have negative effects on the rest of the process and cause poor results.

(We are covering steps 3 and 4 in this blog, if you have not already read Part I of this series to learn about steps 1 and 2, click here)


Based on the information discovered during the education step and the known limitations of your team’s capabilities, the implementation strategy can be created with your business goals in mind.

Now is when key performance indicators (KPIs) should be fleshed out and approved. Don’t be too focused on specific metrics, just focus on the main questions that need to be answered 80% of the time. The other 20% can be ad hoc analysis.

An analytics implementation is not a set it and forget it type of project. You need to have people on your team or a partner who can be there to help with changes. Having a plan is extremely important, but allowing that plan to be flexible is more so. Both aspects present their own challenges.

Many companies start with an Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) implementation because they lack the skillset for customized work or they haven’t created an analytics strategy. They then go back and try to take small steps to customize it. In theory this is great, but depending on the systems you’re integrating analytics with, you could run into problems. For example, if you are using a CMS platform that was built using components, the components likely weren’t created with an understanding of what data values need to be captured. So with the implementation of your analytics strategy, you may need to redevelop those components.  

If you are migrating or implementing a new CMS, analytics is a crucial piece and needs to be considered. If forgotten, it could be harmful to the overall business vision or project success rate later in the project.

Combining Education, Capabilities, and Implementation to Get Trusted Data

Companies have a tendency to go into data overload, where they track and analyze every metric. Using the analytics strategy and business vision as guides, make sure that your team is focusing their attention on actionable data, not interesting data.

  • Interesting Data is the data that is not required to answer questions but can be a distraction to the individual responsible for providing insights. Analytics provides rabbit holes to fall into if the analysis isn’t laser focused.
  • Actionable Data is the data required to answer high level business answers that lead to impactful decision making. This data helps provide key business actions that positively impact the organization.

Over time you can determine what pieces of information are distractions and remove them from your tracking needs.

It’s also important to trust the data you collect. Without trust, decisions are made based on opinions or assumptions. Yes, decision making will always include human emotions, but trusted data can at least provide the guidance for that emotional response. Trusted data is not a single entity that exists from completing a specific task, it requires a strong analytics strategy and foundation, a clear understanding of capabilities, and a strong implementation to collect the right data.

Laying the Groundwork

The bottom line is that working through this entire process can be challenging and will take some hard work. Mastering analytics and delivering ROI won’t happen overnight. Take your time and complete each step. Depending on the size of your organization and your data needs, these first steps could take months to fully develop. Putting your time and money on these up-front phases will lead to creating informative and actionable insights that benefit your business.

If your team needs assistance in the implementation and gathering of trusted data, reach out to our team at iCiDIGITAL. Our specialists have the experience and understanding of not only how to deliver a successful implementation, but how that implementation impacts your marketing ecosystem.

Click here to read the concluding Part III that brings all of the steps together.


Mark Kelley is a member of the Executive Team at iCiDIGITAL. In his role as VP of Digital Engagement, he helps enterprise clients align marketing and ecommerce technology with business goals. He works with clients like Ingersoll Rand, NASCAR, and Panera.