Create a solution design document
A solution design document (also known as a solution design reference or business requirements document) is in essence the blueprint of your analytics implementation. It defines criteria identified by stakeholders throughout your organization, and translates them to variables within Adobe Analytics. Without one, organizations have a difficult time coordinating reporting needs and tend to miss collecting important data.
Validate your Analytics implementation and publish to production - While not directly required, Adobe recommends having a basic implementation in place so critical data is collected while additional business requirements are established and implemented.
Ownership and location of the design document
- Determine who in your organization will be responsible for maintaining the solution design document. This role can either be an individual or a team. Ensure that maintaining the solution design is preserved even through role changes or organization restructures. It is a living document and must be properly maintained.
- Determine where your solution document will reside. There is no single best place for solution design documents to reside, but they typically live in a widely accessible internal location. Examples include a shared spreadsheet or a collaborative workspace like SharePoint or an internal wiki. It does not need to be editable to everyone, but it is beneficial for those who can access reporting to at least be able to view it.
Define business requirements
When determining what data to collect, it is easy to say "everything", however that can quickly become unwieldy to manage, and can even provide less value than collecting more concise amounts of data.
- Determine your Key Performance Indicators. What do you ultimately want visitors to do? The answer to this question varies by industry and vertical, and can be multiple things. Examples include purchases, registrations, or ad clicks.
- Figure out the most important data to collect. Ask business questions that you want specific answers to. Answers to these questions would provide insight on how to improve your KPI's.
- Take those questions and determine what your tracking needs are. Group them into dimensions and metrics.
- Dimensions are variables that contain text. Examples would include internal search term, product category, or the name of an area a visitor clicked.
- Metrics are specific events that you want a visitor to do - when they perform an action you want, the number goes up by one. Examples would include submitting an order, subscribing to a newsletter, or submitting a survey response.
- Map dimensions and metrics into a page or spreadsheet. This page or table ultimately becomes your solution design document. Some helpful columns or bullet points to include:
- Implementation status: Planned, active, inactive, issues, etc. This would inform the viewers of the document the variable's status, if it's been implemented, or if there are issues with data collection.
- Variable name: For example, "Internal search terms". This value would be what analysts see when working within Analytics.
- Analytics variable mapped to: Which default or custom Analytics variable you choose to assign values to. Dimensions typically fall under eVars, while metrics fall under events.
- Logic: A description of how the variable is set, and what determines its value. For example, "Only set on internal search pages. Takes the value of the q query string parameter."
- Any other notes that you would like to include pertaining to the variable
Defining a solution design document is a fairly complex project, especially for organizations who have not created one before. If additional assistance is desired, Adobe provides specialized consulting to help get your organization up and running with Adobe Analytics. Contact your Account Manager if you would like to enlist Adobe's professional services. A Technical pre-implementation questionnaire can be filled out so Adobe knows exactly how to help based on your organization's needs.
There are also several Adobe partners who specialize in helping with the creation of a solution design document, as well as implementing Adobe Analytics on your site.
Although members of the Analytics community have found the following links helpful, they are not owned by Adobe. Take this note into consideration when viewing their content.
- 7 Steps to Set Up Your Web Analytics Solution Design by ObservePoint
- A Framework for Digital Analytics Process by Analytics Demystified
- The Solution Design Reference is actually your BFF by Numeric Analytics
- How to make Adobe Analytics tagging map by Antti Koski
- The Importance of the Solution Design Document by Ebiquity
Implement the variables in your solution design document.
- Introduction to eVars: Learn what an eVar is, how it works, and how to use one in your implementation
- Introduction to events: Learn what a success event is, how it works, and how to use one in your implementation