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Monday, March 26, 2007

Web Analytics Solutions

For my 1st official post (woo-hoo!), I thought I would discuss what I have learned from working with some of the analytics solutions out there. I've implemented and worked with WebTrends, Omniture, Google Analytics and IBM's SurfAid, (now owned by Coremetrics)...log file analysis tools as well as JavaScript driven ASP solutions. I have built great relationships with these firms and had to disappoint them when it was time to move on. OK, enough of my rambling on. What's my point? Never, and I mean NEVER, fall in love with a particular solution or firm. No need to wave a flag or become emotionally attached to what is just a business solution. Take all of your emotions out of the equation and make decisions that will help you best achieve the results you demand. Partner with a vendor that understands your business goals and can demonstrate how to bend their technology to your business requirements over time. I imagine I am not the first to fall into this irrational pit-fall. If you begin to experience any of the symptoms below, seek help immediately:

  • Wearing only vendor labeled clothing at work and on Saturday nights
  • Clouded judgement and tunnel vision
  • Vendor specific bigotry
  • Encouraging your sales rep to run for president
  • Rage attacks on the Web Analytics Forum

The first step to recovery is to conduct group therapy sessions with your stakeholders/clients where you openly discuss the limitations of your current/perspective solution. There isn't an Analytics provider out there that can deliver 100% against your requirements. Over the past few years, Analytics software has become much faster, powerful and cheaper. The "commoditization" of this technology has driven our beloved vendors to merge and grow by acquisition at break-neck speed. It's a great time to be in the analytics industry! We have access to very powerful tools that can provide insight into our businesses like never before. By understanding your business goals and documenting their continual evolution, you will be able to mak sound business decisions.

10 comments:

Blin said...

Hi Adam,

Congratulations with your first post!

It is good to see more blogs about the subject. I just started in the Web Analytics business and all the information I can get is welcome!

Is it possible to subscribe to your blog? (I tried the "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" link, but it didn't seem to work).

Kindest regards,
Belinda

Adam Berlinger said...

Hi Belinda,
thanks for your kind words. I must admit that I'm confused...when I click "Subcribe to posts," I get prompted to save a file...very strange. I'll report back when I have a more definitive answer. Cheers, Adam.

Scott said...

Way to go and best of luck with your new blog. I am relatively new to the web analytics world also so love to read as much as possible. I use Omniture in my job and can agree that it is easy to become emotionally attached to a vendor or analytics pkg but that it is not wise to do so.
I often find myself standing up for Site Catalyst when mngs say "I can't believe it can't track that"
OH well guess that's the way of the world, everyone wants every piece of info RIGHT NOW!

Blin said...

Hi Adam,

I found out how it works:
- press the right mouse button on the link (Subscribe to: Posts (Atom) )
- select "copy shortcut"
- and past it as a new feed (!) in your feedreader

Regards,
Belinda

Anil V Umachigi said...

Way to go Adam! Congratulations
Oh yeah i "totally" agree with your say, NEVER fall in love with the analytics package, the more analytics packages your exposed to better it is

here's what i strongly believe in
"The theory of life is not enjoyment, but education through experience"

Linda Stacy said...

I would like to join as well.

Linda

Jim said...

Couldn't agree more.

Jim Williams www.ju2analytics.com

Gary said...

Congrats on the new blog!

Looking forward to more posts and commentary. I couldn't agree more with "falling" for a vendor/solution. Usually it bites you in the butt when a problem arises or it's time to move on.

Aurelie Pols said...

Hi Adam,

Welcome to the blogosphere!
Interesting post, I would initially agree and if I may, add a little comment.

Web Analytics is not only about the products. It's really a very ackward perception of the market that is, fortunately, evolving with time as people find out that Web Analytics is actually very difficult: defining what you need, tagging your pages, getting the reports out of your favorite tool and trying to convince other people inside your company (including CXOs) how incredibly powerful this can be and how to take action based on what's reported upon.
In this sense, as there aren't a lot of real professionals out there, your vendor inevitably remains your first line of support. Please note that there are other great people out there that can help you move beyond the purely technological aspect of things. As my friend Avinash Kaushik keeps reminding us, even before he decided to help out Google optimize their free solution: if you spend 10$ on a tool, spend 90$ on brains!
Except for his blog, www.kaushik.net, Eric T. Peterson's Hacks from O'Reilly is also a great read (see Amazon).

In any case, we've been supporting WebTrends for over 3 years now officially and decided to move towards a more "vendor independant" approach, supporting the tools that are best suited for the needs of our clients today and in the future.
Furthermore, we cover the technical aspects, the purely product related issues (configurations of reports & stuff) but also the analysis and recomandations part.
It's great fun to finally see that it's not anymore only about the tools, it's actually what you do with it!
I'm sure you totally know what I'm talking about as I see we are walking similar paths.

As for group therapy, I just came back from the eMetrics summit in London a feel really rejuvenated ;-) A great place to check out what other professionals are doing in the field. Check out www.emetrics.org

Isn't it great that we can feel less alone in our journey to insights & accountability?

Great post, keep it up, hope to meet you some time,
Aurelie
http://webanalytics.wordpress.com

Adam Berlinger said...

Aurelie,
Thank you very much for your feedback. This is exactly what I'm looking for! I hope we can all learn from this.

Cheers,
Adam