UBC Web Analytics: “Creating and Managing the Analytical Business Culture”

This is (the final) part four of a four-part series on my experience enrolled in the UBC Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics Program.


Previous posts in the series:

The fourth and final course in the program: Creating and Managing the Analytical Business Culture is taught from a more of manager, web analytics point of view as it tries to tackle all facets of creating and managing a data-driven culture within an organization. It does a good job of covering the bases of such a task from: choosing a web analytics vendor; establishing the function that is web analytics; building a solid foundation throughout the organization; consistent performance monitoring and last, but not least, taking action on the results. That said, there seems to be an increase to the amount of reading required to cover off all these topics, especially compared to the three previous courses, so i recommend accounting for that going in.

There are a total of three assignments that make up this course: one discursive via the forum and amongst the other students, one written report and one formal paper. Apart from the discursive assignment, both the report and the paper will require you to step into the role of manager, web analytics and exist in that mentality for the rest of the course. This may be hard for some, especially if you’re like myself, a (mere) web analyst with no managerial experience. Don’t fret, try and put yourself in the shoes of your current manager and see where that takes you; it helped me out a lot! Again, keep in mind, coupled with the increased volume of reading material in this course plus two written papers you may find yourself hard-pressed for time between everything. It is doable, however, just manage your time more wisely, that’s all.

Our online tutor this time around was Stéphane Hamel who also tutors the Fundamentals of Business Analysis course in the UBC Certificate in Business Analysis, a consultant, creator of the award winning Firefox Add-on: WASP and speaker at eMetrics. Stéphane did an awesome job of trying to engage us all in further dialogue, but due to the inherently harder nature of this course – as compared to the previous three – the discussions never had the legs to turn into anything notable. He provided great feedback and insight for each assignment, remarking on the good, the not-so-good and always tied it back to business realities relating to the workplace and more specifically employee hierarchies. He also took it upon himself to share some of his recent thesis work on the Web Analytics Maturity Model which was very cool – i aspire to that kind of commitment an undertaking such as this must take. Thanks again for that Stéphane!!

As in the previous two courses the cool and highly unexpected thing about this course is the surprise free giveaway you receive. Something that every web analyst, or in this case web analytics manager, should NOT be without. I’ll give you a hint; no, i’ll give it away for this post — drum roll please… it’s Eric T. Peterson’sThe Big Book of KPIs“!! I would suggest professionally binding it so you can use it as a desktop reference and help guard against damage causing you to unnecessarily print it more than once.

Obviously each organization is going to be different, the employee makeup will vary and not all web analytics requirements will be met by any one vendor, but all in all the course sums up what a manager, web analytics should be on the lookout for when embarking on adapting a data-driven culture throughout an organization. Written by industry professionals and led by some of the brightest minds in the field, I believe it delivers a sound enough direction to any aspiring manager willing to embrace web analytics on a grander scheme. A fitting final course to the program.

Well, that’s me for UBC, but not web analytics by any means!!

What about you, any further education in your future? Are you thinking of taking the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics? Already enrolled, what’s your experience been like so far?

4 Responses

  1. HI Russel
    Thanks for this evaluation of the UBC course, its smth that i have been considering.
    I have a few questions here which i’m hoping you’ll oblige:

    1. As a web analyst, did you find the 1st course on introduction to be too basic? or did you learn things that you weren’t already aware of?
    2. Is it possible to skip the 1st course?
    3. How much importance do they put on non-commerce sites?
    3. When you discuss the site layout and optimization; how much focus is there on A/B Multivariate testing? Does the course teach how to do these practically?


    1. @maddy, thanks for your comment! I’ll try now and answer your questions:

      1. As an introductory course it is what it is, although i still did learn a lot mainly due to the discussions had between the online tutor and the rest of the students. It is a very discursive course designed this way to get you into an open dialogue around web analytics.

      2. No, it is a prerequisite to all other courses, however, having said that there is a way around this via a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). All this is outlined on the course details page at UBC: http://www.tech.ubc.ca/webanalytics/intro_course.html

      3. It depends on the specific course and the learning material associated. For example, course two: ‘Web Analytics for Site Optimization’, is all about site optimization and the KPIs that surround that. The lessons learned are completely transferable to both commerce and non-commerce sites. On the whole i would say that there is not a noticeable bias toward e-commerce sites, i believe to be fair to the volume of content sites out there.

      4. If i remember correctly there are a few case studies that implemented a/b multivariate testing. The course teaches you how to measure different scenarios, but doesn’t suggest specific tools to help leverage the process.

Leave a Reply