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What is your biggest Analytic Challenge/Biggest Spreadsheet Effort?
What is your biggest analytic challenge/struggle? I guess another way to ask is what is the spreadsheet that takes the most effort to generate? I can tell you at FinancialForce our biggest analytic struggle that I see is around "Marketing ROI/Contribution". We have our core Financial and Service Delivery elements pretty well handled, but tracking and understanding the impact of marketing activities, and the true costs of those activities (so that we can determine ROI) is where we still struggle. How about you?
Karl-Gustav Bergqvist Founding Analyst | Scholar ✭✭
That is a challenge for us too - with so many different marketing programs touching our leads/opportunities at different stages it is very tricky. And also very easy to get into attribution models that are so complicated that it takes away the potential benefits. They might get you to some potentially valid conclusions but the way to get there is so hard to understand/explain that the credibility is lost.
We are currently working on streamlining our spend (at least direct costs) reporting - which is a challenge on its own but fundamental before talking about ROI. But still haven't really figured out how to make an attribution model work for us in a way that is easy to understand and monitor. This is certainly an area where me and my team would love to learn more about how others are doing it.5
I don't know that the spreadsheet is the best frame for this question, at least not in my organization. Our technology/product team are adept at generating spreadsheets so we can generally get what we need.
Our biggest analytic challenges are more around connected data and working out how to connect different data sets that have been gathered with varying time series, data definitions, etc. This is a deep problem and I don't think it will ever go away.
What @Karl-Gustav Bergqvist calls the 'attribution' problem is another deep problem. Here there are some rapid advances coming out of healthcare and evidence-based medicine that I think we can start to put to work. The healthcare profession is well ahead of the marketing profession here, which is not surprising as in healthcare lives are at stake.
Allocating costs ... ouch, it is always a problem. We know that the solution is activity based costing but I have never seen a company that does it well. When we started Ibbaka we promised ourselves we would do this, but soon found it too much work for a young company where processes were changing rapidly. I suspect we will regret it as we scale.5
Thinking more on this, as digital transformation proceeds Activity Based Management should become more practical. Someone must be working on good solutions for this. Has anyone seen something they can recommend?0
Marketing contributions are always a bit tricky. I think Activity Based Costing has proven to be difficult. Getting to high level numbers of Supply Chain, Delivery and Call costs are not so hard, but through the years the detail needed to understand each an every motion and what specifically is driving the costs is elusive coupled with the large size of the organization0