Solution Design Reference in Adobe Analytics – How to create one?

What is Solution Design Reference (SDR) ? TL;DR

Solution Design Reference is basically a fancy name for Adobe Analytics TDD (Technical Design Document). Analytics Consultant/ Business Analyst prepares this document. Your Adobe Analytics development team (people who are good at Javascript) will then use this document to configure Adobe Analytics on digital properties (sites, mobile apps, terminals). However, it is not the only document which you require for implementing Adobe Analytics. To say the least – you will need a data layer specification document and Analytics Data Collection Architecture document.

Analytics data collection architecture documents defines the report suite (RS) architecture used. RS architecture can be any of – global, roll up or VRS based. There are some trade offs between cost and features – you can read more about it on the official documentation.

Without getting diverted, let’s focus on the Solution Design Reference (SDR). A well written SDR clarifies key requirements for analytics set up on sites.

Key Steps in preparing the Solution Design Reference

Step 1: Write down Key Business Requirements & KPIs

Key Business Requirements : These are high level requirements. These are the objectives you want to achieve through your digital property. This is a key step in the preparation of solution design reference in Adobe Analytics.

Each of these requirements should have an associated KPI.

Lets consider example of a shopping site. Below are sample KBRs & associated KPIs.

  1. Increase online sales by 10% within next 6 months. | Revenues, Orders, Average Order Value, Check Out Conversion Rate
  2. Enhance online customer experience | Search to Buy Ratio, Time Spent on Site, Average Time in Conversion Process

Step 2: Write down Supporting Business Requirements

Next step is to write down what are called as supporting business requirements. This is basically what can be tracked so as to achieve the KBRs. For the above scenario, SBRs can be

  1. Track shopping cart metrics – product views, cart adds, checkouts, revenues, orders
  2. Track which parameters or events lead to conversions – internal searches, specific content pages
  3. Track fallout’s in the conversion – pages with exits, which step in checkout is leading to exits
  4. Track audience which has high propensity of buying and can be re-targeted

Above four are SBRs for our KBR #1) of increasing online sales by 10%. Of course these are just few. You have to do a quick requirements workshop with business team to uncover these.

For each SBR also add a column for priority and phase. Its obvious that each SBR has to roll out to one of the KBRs. Google Analytics also follows a similar process. In fact this is the process followed during most of website measurement and optimization programs.

Step 3: Prepare a Variables Map

Variables map is where we get into the details of Adobe Analytics Implementation. Defining the right variables leads to right insights and leads to sooner ROI realization for your clients. In house Analytics dev teams would know more about the implementation aspects of eVars, Props & events. Your objective should be to make this document as detailed as possible – so that it makes jobs of developers easy.

Prepare a spreadsheet with the below columns:

Variable – This is the type of variable – event, prop or eVar. You will have to make it granular. The line items here would be eVar1, eVar 2, s.events = event2, s.PageName, s.events = “scRemove”

Description – If you are using eVar 1 for Page URL. Just write page URL. There might be other scenarios here – internal search terms, city etc.

Reports Populated – Mention the report which will be populated. Some times it will be out of the box report while sometime it might be a custom report. Wherever eVars and Props are used means custom reports. Site Metrics > Shopping Cart > Cart Removes

Where, When to Set : Shopping Cart Removal would be set on Shopping Cart Page while eVars like Page URL would need to be set on all pages. This helps more from an Adobe Launch perspective.

Setting Example: Give an example so that it becomes clear. For Shopping Cart removal I would add

s.events=”scRemove”
s.products=”;parentSKU123″

Notes/Comments: Here write down any other notes you would want to add.

How to populate values – If you have a data layer mention data layer if not there is no option but to do DOM scraping or custom coding. Write this as well.

Type : For events this would be the event type (counter, number or currency). For eVars this would be the expiration – Visit etc.

Step 4: Get sign off from business

Once you have the basic solution design reference ready- the next step is to review it and obtain a sign off from business. Remember this is a key document aka the blueprint of your implementation.

And thats it. You now have the requirements ready to go ahead and configure analytics on sites if you have the environment set up (Report Suites) and have access to it.

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