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The Advantages of a Hierarchical Reporting Strategy
Dave DeVries, Senior Consultant
I have worked with companies and clients who have had to develop reporting strategies to meet the needs and requirements of multiple level audiences within their organization and map their online call-to-actions to those KPI’s. The more successful strategies and implementations I have seen have taken a top-down approach when possible, which helped to structure a hierarchical taxonomy of success events and related KPI’s. This often simplifies mapping the call-to-actions to those KPI’s.
Here is one way that this approach can be realized:
Gather the business goals and requirements from the multiple levels within the organization.
- A senior-level manager may be interested in one or two high-level revenue & visitor engagement success metrics.
- A mid-level manager might want the next level of insights, with visibility into the revenue channels and offering categories, and engagement across one or more web sites.
- Marketing managers responsible for more details or more offerings will want visibility into all of the data available from the web sites.
Determine how many stakeholder levels you will be delivering reports and analysis to:
- Start with the top reporting level stakeholders and get commitments from them on the high-level success metrics that are important to their business. Encourage them to limit them several key top-level consolidated metrics.
- Sequentially meet with the stakeholders at each level below. At each point, work with them to drill down from the level above them to the specific metrics that they will be interested in and responsible for.
- At the lowest level, work with your stakeholder to map the detailed metrics to specific traffic metrics and call-to-action/engagement click events on the websites. If the website is new or being relaunched, there is an opportunity to tie the engagement events even tighter to the business goals.
- When you begin to build out your reports and dashboards, start with the low-level detail reporting and analysis needs. As you work up to each level, consolidate the detailed metrics into the metrics needed at the level just above and work your way up to the top level.
Here is an example for a hypothetical site selling software product solutions through multiple channels (online, retail, partner). At the top level, the key metrics provided would be totals for visitor engagement and revenue. At the next level, the key metric set might be broken up into groups that would provide the total metrics around learning more about the solutions, trying the solutions, and buying the solutions. The lowest level would track the detail metrics gathered from the website such as product pages views/visits, how many visitors downloaded a trial version or signed up for a related newsletter, and how many visitors actually ended up buying a product, and through what purchasing channel.
Granted, it often is never quite as easy as it sounds in real life, but by taking this approach up front, it helps to integrate the reporting across multiple levels, map the success goals of each level to the key website activities, and to aggregate and consolidate the metrics needed at each management level from the lowest level of metrics collected from the website.