Numbers are important. We’re told this constantly. But, they’re not enough. You have to know how to read, present and know your numbers.
Educause has published another of their two pagers (Anyone can fid time to read this!). It is in hte “7 Things” guides series. The latest one is 7 Things You Should Know About Analytics. While this briefing is generically about academic analytics programs and what types of data they can assess in an educational environment you can find insights here in other analytics too.
This quick guide answers the following questions:
What is it?
How does it work?
Who’s doing it?
Why is it significant?
What are the downsides?
Where is it going?
What are the implications for teaching and
So, here’s some things that apply to everyone:
1. You should (probably do) have Google Analytics on your website.
2. You also have reports and data coming out of your servers.
3. You also have reports and data coming out of your OPAC.
4. You also have reports and data coming out of your vendors in various formats (OMG – Counter, Sushi, etc.).
5. You may have Gale Cengage’s Foresee surveys in your mix as well.
6. You may use SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang for user surveys.
All of these give you clues about your user behaviours and sometimes on the impact and satisfaction (expecially Foresee and SurveyMonkey/Zoomerang).
When was the last time you reviewed these in a strategic context? What do they tell you? Are some no longer useful or could be made more useful and efficient? What visuals could you develop that deliver meaningful insights quickly?
It’s not too late to get better at your numbers. It about more than budgets. It is about measuring and justifying the impact and value of your operations, programs and strategies. Arm yourself first.
And, lastly, build an engaging story around your numbers that tugs at the heartstrings and/or brains of your funders and communities.