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What "Legends of the Hidden Temple" Taught Me About Analytics Solution Design

Clear KPIs and documentation critical in successful analytics deployments

Childhood can be cruel.

When I was 11 years old, I received a very exciting phone call that I was accepted to participate on a brand new game show on Nickelodeon called “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” which apparently just announced a reboot.

For the uninitiated, the nightmarish children’s show featured numerous physical challenges like crossing a moat in an inner tube, listening to a large animatronic talking head named 'Olmec' tell stories, and, of course, the famously brutal temple run.  

When I arrived at the studio, I met a character from the hit show, “Clarissa Explains It All,” received a free pair of shoes, and got all the pizza I could eat. On the show, my partner and I steamrolled our adolescent competitors and earned the coveted spot in the temple run during the show’s finale.

Unfortunately, nobody escapes the temple unscathed.

My partner and I had a very simple plan: I would lose all of my pendants, get pulled out by a temple guard and create a clear path for him to run straight through the temple, grab Blackbeard's treasure map, and make his way out. Easy, right?

In the end, our plan proved naïve (remember we’re 11, right?). While we knew what our end goal was, we failed to consider all of the steps that would get us to that end goal. As the clock ticked down and temple guards closed in, the doors wouldn’t open and I was stuck.

Years later, my temple run earned me the unofficial title of "the fourth worst moment in 'Legends of the Hidden Temple' history." At least it makes for good cocktail conversation.

The failed strategy of my temple run provides a good lesson for designing and executing your analytics solution. It is simply not enough to know your objectives. You need concrete, actionable steps that ladder up to your main KPIs. For example, if your main KPI is to increase form conversions, a current-state conversion funnel diagnostic, content performance and audience intelligence analysis is a crucial piece of information as you architect your analytics solution.

Once KPIs are clearly defined, you must also design your analytics solution that applies dimensions, metrics and segments to reports to adequately answer all of the pertinent business questions. This solution should also be straightforward and well-documented so that all of the users who need to access the data can get the information they need. When data is available in Adobe Analytics, the architect can also generate custom links to point the user to the report in the tool.

An example might look like this:

Oftentimes, the data from great analytics deployments go unused because the consumers of the reports do not understand how to use the solution to answer specific business questions. The role of the architect is to bridge that gap and clearly demonstrate how Adobe Analytics can be utilized to contribute to the measurement of KPIs. The example above illustrates how multiple business questions are answered using the analytics tool and also provides a record of each of the important KPIs that may roll up into several larger business questions.

Using the above method, if your ultimate goal is to get through the temple, you’ll know exactly which doors you should open.

While my infamous “Legends of the Hidden Temple” only provided light emotional scarring, it has proved useful as we design scalable analytics solutions for our clients.

Plus, it’s a great story to trot out at cocktail parties.