How to Choose the Right Web Analytics for a Governmental Organization

Published: May 25, 2017 Updated: August 24, 2018 Author Category Analytics, Government

No matter if you are a hi-tech company or a government, your organization is shaped and powered by technology. The choice of it may be, however, difficult for governmental organizations, which on the one hand breathe rigid procedures and, on the other hand, face cost limitations. Both factors can prove to be effective deterrents from changing the technology solutions or investing in new ones. Paradoxically, the same two factors should motivate governments to lean in and do thorough research into the right web analytics solution that would cater for their institutional needs.

In this article, we’ll help guide those working in governments through the process of choosing the right web analytics solution that meets their needs.

But first, let’s recap the main benefits of having a web analytics solution.

Why web analytics?

On a practical note, the right web analytics solution will help governments optimize the websites and hence make a better use of the resources they’ve already invested in. It will help detect and eliminate possible bottlenecks on the paths to conversion, learn what browsers and device types the visitors use to access the services. Such information is a prerequisite for any marketing and communication planning – it helps structure the communication strategy and prioritize when working on a budget.

Last, but not least, it helps governments improve the service experience and build an image of trusted organizations.

So now that we’ve covered why data analytics for government is important, let’s take a look at some key areas that you should look for in an analytics solution and why these areas are important.

Do I have sufficient computing power to host web analytics on my own infrastructure?

The hosting method: On-Premises vs. Cloud

Governmental organization by nature often access and process highly sensitive, personal data the collection of which is governed by rigid policies and procedures. Some of them may dictate the choice of mode of hosting. If your internal policies enforce hosting any IT solution on your own infrastructure – the choice is relatively simple.

If it’s not the case, you may feel inclined to invest in cloud solutions, which tend to be more cost-effective and more easily scalable. The main factor determining your organization’s cloud web analytics should be security as well as compliance with legislation applicable to you.

Choosing the right web analytics for government, go for one hosted on secure servers in locations governed by strict privacy regulations. Piwik PRO has opted for servers located in the US and Germany, which guarantee storing data under rigid EU and US privacy laws.

For more information concerning the relationship between hosting models and liabilities, click here.

Evaluate Your Web Analytics Solution Towards GDPR In 12 Steps

Find out if your analytics solution guarantees data accuracy and privacy, including GDPR compliance:

Download FREE Guide

Absolute control of data

Having an analytics solution that provides full data ownership is important for governments, if they want to mitigate the risks stemming from liabilities. Only when being in control of your user data, you can be assured no third party will use your user data in a way that breaks your visitor’s trust.

On top of complete data ownership, governments could look for tools with enhanced security functionalities. These could be functionalities empowering the tool’s administrator to assign selectively the access to particular pages, or those that allow integrations with SSO (Single Sign-On) mechanisms, giving the administrators tightened control of the access to the tool itself.

As you must now, the European Union is currently polishing up General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set to come into effect in May next year. The Regulation takes a more rigid stance on transparency. The Article 12 of the document obliges data collectors to be ready to provide, in a legible way and in plain language, the information concerning what data is processed and for what purpose.

Only by not sharing the data with third parties, or by making sure no data leaks have taken place, you will be able to communicate such information to your users in a responsible and truthful way. Mind you, even though the GDPR is an EU legislation, it’s applicable to all organizations, regardless of their location, that handle data of EU citizens.

Open-source

The necessity to collect data in a transparent manner stems not only from EU regulations, it’s also every government’s obligation if they wish to instigate trust among the citizens they serve. That’s why some governmental organizations choose open-source solutions – the source code of such solutions is available to general public, so virtually everyone having the necessary skills and knowledge is able to verify what kind of information the code collects.

Variety of tracking methods

Some institutions have internal regulations prohibiting JavaScript tracking. If you’re one of them, what you could do is find a web analytics vendor that offers Log Analytics tracking. This method allows discrete tracking as it doesn’t alter the code of your website. The downside is that it gives you only limited information on your users.

Other organizations that use JavaScript tracking method but would rather not leave cookies within the visitors’ browsers can tap into fingerprinting technology to recognize returning visitors. Fingerprinting lets markets and data analysts identify users by combining different variables, such as: the IP address, type of browser, the time zone, fonts, an operational system, and installed plugins.

This technology has its downsides too, however – it’ll fail in the case of tracking corporate visitors who most often share the same IP address and so will be recognized as a single visitor. Still, it’s a robust tracking method as marketers don’t lose track of a visitor even when he or she erases cookies. It’s also popular with governmental organizations that want to be privacy friendly.

Handling large volumes of data

Governments often process the data coming from a complex web ecosystem. They need a sound, high availability solution which would cope not only with the anticipated load of visits, but also would endure sudden spikes of traffic. Any system failures as a result of data overload would normally lead to skewed, incomplete data which is, it’s fair to say, useless.

If your organization possesses a complex website, with multiple pages, what you need is either an on-premise solution set on high capacity servers, or a cloud solution that you’d be able to scale, if needed.

Support and maintenance

Speaking of high availability and the importance of processing complete data, we need to mention SLA and the support you should be given by your web analytics solution vendor. Go for a vendor who, on top of offering satisfactory SLA terms, offers you round the clock maintenance and support.

Piwik PRO goes as far as to assign you an expert who is dedicated to your project and so familiar with your needs. He or she will not only be in charge of reacting to potential problems, but will stay in touch with you and make sure you make the most of the tool.

Integration with third-party solutions

Reducing red tape may sound like a joke when it comes to institutions full of procedures.
Having said that, there are solutions designed to make your life a little easier by streamlining reporting activities. Look for a web analytics tool which can be seamlessly integrated with the third party solutions you use and facilitate the data flow, which lets you import the data from your other tools and include them in the web analytics reports you may schedule to send at a chosen email address in selected time intervals.

Let’s recap

Summing up, as a governmental organization you need a secure, privacy-friendly web analytics tool that would help you not only streamline the processes for your stakeholders, but also will support you in establishing reputation of a trustworthy organization. When choosing the right solution, pay attention to hosting method, security of your data – you want to have a complete control of your user data and exclusive rights to it. Open-source solutions will help you project an image of a transparent organization, while fingerprinting technology will let you identify returning visitors without the need to use cookies. When making the decisions, have also in mind the volume of traffic your web analytics solution will need to handle, and consider a vendor that will support you in installing the platform and will take care of its maintenance.

If you feel inclined to know more about how Piwik PRO Web Analytics can aid governments fulfill their mission, do not hesitate to contact us. Stay also tuned for more insight into web analytics’ world.

Evaluate Your Web Analytics Solution Towards GDPR In 12 Steps

Find out if your analytics solution guarantees data accuracy and privacy, including GDPR compliance:

Download FREE Guide

Author:

Urszula Kotowska, Content Marketer

I’m particularly keen on exploring the intersection of technology and social good. I strongly believe that technology, if used wisely, is able to serve people.

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