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Using DMAIC Methodology to Enhance Information Portals

  • January 12, 2009
  • By Arvind Muthukrishnan
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The Internet has emerged rapidly as the primary medium of information access to the common users. Moreover, all product companies are also keen on releasing a web version to target a wider range of audience. The largest customer base for any organization across any market is in THE INTERNET. This is very evident from the fact that even US President Mr. Barack Obama used internet (Web 2.0 - Change.gov) as a strong medium to reach users and eventually succeeded in the initiative.

Irrespective of their offline brand, it has become imperative for every organization to have a strong online presence. Of course, strong offline brands get a heads-up because of their brand awareness. But, it also matters how quickly you enter the Internet market that is highly competitive.

Entering the Internet market might be easy, but how well you enter and how well you capture the attention of the users matters a lot. Also, with web concepts evolving time to time, it is very difficult to retain your user base. Hence, there is a need to analyze, monitor, and control the key metrics of the website. You also might want to introduce some disruptive features from time to time in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The need to analyze the user behavior on the website and customize the content for the users is very important for user retention. As the saying goes, "You cannot improve until you measure." You cannot analyze user behavior until you have these metrics in place.

In this article, I will walk you through the key concepts that will make any organization succeed in the online market. I shall demonstrate how you can take methodologies from other product industries and customize them for the web-enabled marketplace. I shall introduce DMAIC, a Six Sigma methodology from the manufacturing sector and attempt to customize it for an information portal.

What Is DMAIC?

Let me explain DMAIC. Six Sigma is a methodology for enhancing a process' performance. This concept was pioneered by Motorola and GE to be quality focused. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

DMAIC is a Six Sigma methodology by which you achieve process improvement. Not all projects are taken up for this initiative. To qualify for this initiative, a process potentially should have an impact on either of the two objectives:

  • Cost Reduction
  • Revenue Increase

Let me start by defining the DMAIC steps for website improvement. Please review Figure 1.



Click here for a larger image.

Figure 1: Six Sigma (DMAIC) methodology

DEFINE

It is very important to understand the core competency of your business along with key market drivers and define a particular objective for your initiative to enter the online market. This is the most critical step of the whole initiative; it has an impact on all subsequent steps. A few examples of the objectives are as follows:

  • Increase Revenue by 25% over a year
  • Be the Number 1 online brand in that particular industry

MEASURE

It is very important to measure the metrics that are in alignment with your defined objectives. For example, if the objective is to increase revenue, there is a certain set of metrics that needs to be measured. Please see Figure 2 for a key set of metrics you should measure to make informed decisions. Please see Appendix A for a basic explanation of the key metrics described below.



Click here for a larger image.

Figure 2: Key Web Metrics to Measure


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