One of the best things about working out of a co-working space is meeting fantastic and deeply experienced people across a multitude of industries. One of our resident analytics grandmaster is Amin Shawki, Regional Director of InfoTrust UAE and a professional Settlers of Catan player (a great board game for the uninitiated). Find out more about how he runs a team of analytics experts in a market that has not yet grasped the opportunities of being data-driven.
Company Name: InfoTrust
Founders: Michael Loban and Alex Yastrebenetsky
Founding Year: 2006
City: Cincinnati, USA
Funding: Privately Owned
Team Size & Designations: 26 in USA; 5 in UAE — Digital Analytics Consultants
Duration with InfoTrust: 3.5 Years at InfoTrust USA & 2 Years at InfoTrust UAE (Led first international expansion)
Your startup in a line, GO!
Stress-free digital analytics consulting and product technology company; Google Analytics Strategic Partners.
What’s Your Background?
I’m the Regional Managing Director for MENA at InfoTrust and have been involved in implementing web analytics architecture and complex data collections processes for hundreds of websites worldwide. My background is in leading InfoTrust consulting teams in the deployment of the latest and greatest Google Analytics enhanced tracking technology for some of the largest E-retailers, CPG/FMCG and Media/Broadcast organizations in the world, across multiple languages and currencies. Nowadays I’m currently leading the InfoTrust International expansion with InfoTrust’s MENA office located in Dubai, U.A.E.
What is your product offering?
We provide all types of digital analytics services from measurement strategy, implementation architecture and design, testing and validation, insights and optimisation, experimentation all to drive key customer conversion metrics. We provide client’s confidence in their data collection and insights + recommendations into digital marketing efforts in order to identify how to constantly drive improvements. Specifically- we are Google partners supporting Google’s digital analytics platforms including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Data Studio, and Google Optimize.
We also have our own digital analytics products for automated data validation and ongoing data collection/quality monitoring — TagInspector.com as well as our data integration tool for merging external datasets with Google Analytics- analyze.ly.
What’s the biggest crisis you have faced in your startup till now, and what did you learn from it?
Education and knowledge level in the region around digital analytics and value of data quality assurance. Learned pushing the same advanced analytics applications and techniques for driving ROI may not work immediately with organizations in the region until a solid analytics and data collection foundation is implemented first. Knowledge gap of organizations was quite large.
What’s the most important metric that drives your team culture?
Constant never-ending thirst for knowledge and growth. We measure our consultants on how they grow their accounts and skills they acquire to show more value to their clients. The only way to grow accounts, mature relationships and acquire new skills is to constantly have a thirst and desire to learn and hustle to be the best. Our culture is very much focused around building the best place to work, by providing the most interesting type of work and environment to grow personally and professionally. We have unlimited vacation policy and flexible work hours, work from home options, dress code, free lunch+coffee+swag and respect personal obligations. Best candidates are those that appreciate challenges and always want to innovate.
What’s your job now and how different is it to when you started?
Regional director now = jack of all trades and a LOT of operational work- consulting delivery and client management, hiring and HR, the government set up and office management, sales and business development, and strategy for growth of international hub. First started 5.5 years ago as social media marketing intern. Quite a change 🙂
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Managing multiple time zones and stakeholders- clients in Asia/Australia, partners in Europe/UK, head office in USA EST and Google + our marketing team in USA PST. Lots of timezones to coordinate with the occasional middle of the night work. The best part is there is never a boring day.
Data/Analytics — What’s something interesting you’ve noticed companies are doing or facing in MENA ?
MENA region has high customer mobile app + mobile web penetration and Facebook advertising in this region is much, much more used compared to other channels than in other regions.
What is the general perception of investing in web analytics and how keen are companies to become “data-driven”?
There is a major gap between organizations using advanced web analytics + attempting to be “data-driven” vs those that are still getting started in MENA. Investing in web analytics is still behind overall in this region due to focus on just providing topline metrics, so the perception is this can be done in-house and becoming “data-driven” is an easy process change once data is available. Of course, to properly be data-driven you not only need robust and enhanced data collection, but also the right insights and actions to be taken from the data. This is where most organizations miss the mark. Those that have invested in web analytics understand gathering the right data and acting on that data required expertise in the tracking technologies and the right processes for identifying improvements to be made, along with experimenting changes. Most organizations do not have this type of talent or skillset internally at the moment, and a partner would be best to provide this capability.
The understanding of this need and the value of investing in web analytics has picked up immensely in last few years since we expanded here, and more example case studies and rhetoric from Google is starting to accelerate the desire to be data-driven. Still, it is a challenge in getting organizations to go from basic reporting as their “data-driven” strategy, vs using advanced attribution, audience building and enhanced analysis techniques for driving action and experimentation.
Any parting words you’d like to share?
For any Organization looking to take their digital marketing efforts to new levels and unlock the power of data and digital analytics, drop me a note- firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer technical audits and review of digital analytics architecture + data collection processes, as well as analysis and experimentation services for driving digital marketing improvement and KPIs. With proper data collection and data-driven processes in place, any Organization can increase their conversion rate and drive more value for their business.
For more, check out our websites and other free events on our website: infotrustllc.com/events
Also published on Medium.