Part 1: Integrating Google Analytics with your websites and portals
In today's business world, metrics are paramount for they pave the way toward business process optimization. As a previous blog post stated, one way to obtain metrics is through a Business Process Management engine. To augment that data, organizations can also utilize Google Analytics (GA). By integrating GA with an organization's website and web portal, stakeholders are able to obtain useful data that can help them make impactful business decisions.
Chris Davis, web designer at the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS), is very interested in metrics and website analytics, which explains why he integrated GA with the systems’ website, web member services (WMS) portal, and employer web portal (EWP) a couple years ago. "For me, if you aren't tracking analytics, you don’t know if you're successful or not," said Davis. "Metrics not only help you see the effectiveness of what you're doing, they also help you make judgments about future behavior. They allow you to be both reactive and proactive."
GA is a free web analytics service that monitors and reports website traffic — helping agencies obtain data on users visiting their website and their interactions during each session visit. In addition to website tracking, it has built-in and custom reporting features.
When speaking with Davis, it's immediately apparent he is proficient with GA and he has even been a source of reference for other pension systems interested in using the analytics service for their website monitoring.
While GA is a free service, only organizations that fall within a certain monthly page view count can use it free of charge. Therefore, if a “pension system is interested in using Google Analytics, their IT department should examine their web application log files to verify their monthly page views,” advised Davis.
Because of GA’s’ inherent design, the end user has enormous flexibility in deciding what aspects of a website they want to track. For instance, Davis comprehensively tracks the pension systems’ website and WMS portal but the same is not true for their employer web portal. “Because employers are obligated to use the portal, there isn’t much impetus to track usage on the portal’s various internal pages,” said Davis. “We did, however, integrate Google Analytics with the EWP’s login page so we have a good snapshot of browser usage, operating systems and monthly sessions, which is Google’s term for visits.”
In addition to its flexible nature, GA has an intuitive user interface. Therefore, an agency doesn’t need to have a large IT staff to start using the analytics service. In fact, many of GA’s recent upgrades and features were designed so that a non-IT staff can modify their analytics without having to reach out to their IT staff, Davis explained.
While it’s best practice to have a strategy that defines what data you’re going to collect and how you’re going to use it, Davis urges pension systems to begin by just collecting basic data. After all, that is what Davis did when he first started out. Since then, he has adopted more sophisticated data collection and reporting practices. Armed with this data, he is able to help PSRS/PEERS’ management make data-driven decisions.
The next blog post will delve into Davis’ rudimentary and advanced data collection techniques and will be followed by an examination into how PSRS/PEERS is using the data to make insightful business decisions.
To learn more about Sagitec’s extensive experience implementing and supporting web portals or to obtain information on their Business Process Management engine, please contact Diann Clift at (317) 331-5542 or at [email protected].
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Chris Davis has been with PSRS/PEERS since June 2013. As the systems’ Web Designer/Developer, Chris is responsible for the design and development of the public-facing website as well as the PSRS/PEERS board intranet site. In addition to his duties as a web designer/developer, he is also responsible for shooting and editing member education videos.
Mr. Davis previously worked as a web designer/developer for Central Technology Services, the IT division of Central Bancompany, a Midwest bank holding company. Working with the CTS technical staff and Central Bancompany marketing department personnel, he managed the technical operations of a Web Content Management system (WCMS) that serviced 13 affiliate banks spread across four states. Prior to that, he was the web developer and videographer for SuccessLink Inc., an education-focused not-for-profit. While there, he designed and developed the agency’s first database-driven content management system. He began his career in the web industry in 1998 when he accepted a position as Webmaster for KRCG-TV, a mid-Missouri CBS affiliate. In that role, Chris designed the station’s very first website as well as overseeing the development of the station’s content management system.
About Sagitec Solutions
Sagitec Solutions, LLC designs and delivers tailor-made pension, provident fund, unemployment insurance, and healthcare and life sciences software solutions to clients of all sizes. Understanding that a dynamic world requires dynamic technology, Sagitec offers solutions that are highly configurable and extensible by nature. With deep industry experience in software implementation and systems integration, project management, consulting, hosting and software support, Sagitec is a partner clients can trust to deliver mission-critical IT projects.