And Now for Something Completely Different I got my new corporate American Express card in the mail the other day. Here's what it said on it:

Paul Strupp

Now, I always presented myself as a humble web analyst, but to somehow be promoted to the rank of oracle, well, I was quite flattered. Maybe my reputation is improving.

Then it hit me, of course: Oracle is the company I work for now, having completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems at the end of January.

And thus, I begin the next stage of my career having been given the opportunity to join the Oracle web analytics team.

An interesting opportunity it will no doubt be. Facing us is the challenge of effectively merging the web analytics programs of two large high technology companies. Somehow a hundred or so web sites, a few billion page views, and several hundred tool users, need to be transformed into one smooth functioning business insight producing machine.

No problem. Let's just review the chapter on merging mega programs from my web analytics text book. Hmm. My edition seems to be missing that chapter. I guess we'll be figuring it out as we go.

And if I discover any learnings along the way that might serve as a best practice, I'll try to share them.

Eight weeks in and what have I learned?

Best Practice #1. Integrate Your Attitude First.

I think it's easy to start thinking that you've got it all figured out and know best. But there are other smart people out there too, so never miss an opportunity to recognize that there might be a better way, and that today might be your day to learn something.

I've already seen the benefits of this where, for example, I'm learning to put a higher emphasis on testing before making changes to data collection code. Well, duh, I've always tested my code, but to see it as a formal part of the analytics process is a darn sensible idea. I've already caught a few problems that I might not have otherwise, so this is goodness.

Conversely, I've been able to bring expertise of my own to the table where a measurement design we used at Sun has been welcome into the discussion. More goodness.

This integration of ideas, and the integrated attitude of utilizing the best of everyone's talent for the overall success, is the best way to start. There's still a lot to do, but with Best Practice #1 figured out, we're on our way.