Reporting vs. Analysis — not just me making the distinction

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A good friend of mine from my youth (and still today) read my first real post on this blog, and it really resonated with him — he’s commented offline about it a couple of times over the past couple of months. He pinged me today asking for some resources that would elaborate on the subject. My kneejerk reaction was: there ain’t none — it’s not a distinction people make.

But, I did a quick Google search, anyway. Immediately, I turned up a post by a highly credible person — Jim Novo. Jim’s been absent from the Yahoo! webanalytics forum of late, but that’s where I first read him, and he’s got experience and considerable smarts.

Turns out, he had a post from February of this year (2007) on the exact subject of Reporting vs. Analysis. The first thing I noticed was that he referenced a post from Avinash Kaushik that touches on the subject as well. This really is a small world, apparently (see my last entry in this blog…where I referenced an Avinash post!).

When I skimmed Jim’s article, my initial reaction was that he was indeed using “reporting” and “analysis” in a different way than I define them. But, on a closer read, I don’t think that’s the case. He (and, by extension, Eric Peterson) really is calling a report something that you monitor to see if you’re doing what you want (maintaining the status quo or driving improvements), whereas analysis is about trying ot understand what’s going on. Interesting stuff. I feel validated. 😉

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