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Public Sector Client Independent Government Agency

Public Sector Client Independent Government Agency Logo

CREATING THE WORLD’S LARGEST CUSTOM ANALYTICS INFRASTRUCTURE

Cardinal Path designed and deployed the largest-ever implementation of Google Analytics Premium against an extremely aggressive and mandated timeline across more than eight thousand websites, greatly improving the collection, measurement, aggregation and reporting of data throughout the client’s vast network of digital assets.

BACKGROUND

An independent government agency with administrative oversight over one of the world’s largest web infrastructures approached Cardinal Path after receiving an executive mandate to implement performance and customer-satisfaction measurement tools across its network. The agency is a decentralized network of dozens of government sub-agencies and over ten thousand websites delivering a wide array of public goods, services, news, and policy and regulatory information. Each sub-agency consists of several divisions,
each often operating multiple websites.

THE CHALLENGE

Collectively, the agency’s analytics infrastructure ran the gamut – some of the sub- agencies managed their individual data needs and investments independently, while many others had no data collection at all. There was no network-wide consistency in data collection technologies, practices, measurement or processes. Even agencies that used analytics functions relied on them only for internal reporting requirements, which were frequently rudimentary. The wide disparity in the analytics technologies employed prevented aggregation of data except through laborious manual processes that resulted in inconsistencies and quality issues. Despite owning administrative responsibility over the entire network, the client could not provide aggregate, rolled-up data across all of its agencies, nor could they access and report on even a single individual sub-agency’s performance. This inability to provide transparency into the functioning of its own organization as well as the needs of its audience was clearly an unacceptable scenario for a taxpayer-supported entity responsible for providing timely and essential information. What was required was a standardized, network-wide tracking, measurement and reporting solution across the thousands of websites, domains and sub-domains of all the agencies that make up quite possibly the world’s largest public sector website ecosystem. This solution needed to accomplish multiple goals: provide centralized and real-time visibility into the content needs of the public, measure the performance of all websites, track customer satisfaction with website content, and establish benchmarks for further improvement. From a technical standpoint, the solution would need to be deployable across the entire network and co-exist with existing platforms and solutions, which would continue to be maintained and operated by respective sub-agencies for their individual internal reporting needs. Given the vast scale of the deployment and the often minimal IT resources that varied widely from agency to agency, the ideal solution would need to be both exceedingly robust and extremely easily implemented.

THE SOLUTION

Cardinal Path worked within the boundaries of an extremely aggressive and mandated timeline to roll out the world’s largest and most complex implementation of Google Analytics Premium across the client’s vast and sprawling network of websites. The design included self-configuring, customizable code that could be dropped into nearly any environment and provide aggregated roll-up data as well as breakdowns for individual agencies and websites.

TO IMPLEMENT THIS DESIGN, CARDINAL PATH ENGINEERS DEVELOPED CODE THAT WOULD DETECT ANY EXISTING, POTENTIALLY CONFLICTING, CODEBASES AND SYNCHRONIZE ITSELF WITH THEM DURING DEPLOYMENT.

This allowed the code to satisfy a unique set of requirements for an individual agency, while remaining a single, self-executable file deployed through a single container script for the entire network. In addition, the solution also included the ability to handle frequent and unforeseen traffic spikes with no data loss, the ability to filter and aggregate data at various levels of network hierarchy, real-time data streaming, and on-demand visibility through dashboards directly accessible to executive stakeholders.

THE RESULTS

Cardinal Path completed the largest ever implementation of an analytics platform – including customization of code and testing – against an extremely aggressive, mandated project schedule despite unprecedented challenges of complexity and scale. Our analytics solution was successfully deployed by our client across more than 8,000 web sites in the desired timeframe, and delivered a defined, standardized and consistent set of metrics to the key stakeholders. For the first time agency executives were able to understand how much activity
was being initiated from diverse channels such as mobile and social, how their sites compared to other related government agency web properties, and they were able to track how world events spur citizen engagement with their sites. As a first test of this deployment, the client proclaimed the installation to be a true success when all the stakeholders were able to view, in real-time, traffic data corresponding to the DA14 asteroid event in February 2013. The agency and their sub-agency stakeholders are now able to easily track real-time public reaction to events of great significance, report on products and services and gain insight into content strategies. This information provides an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency within the organization, enabling the client to leverage network-wide intelligence to meet their fundamental responsibilities of planning and response with far more understanding than ever before.

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