May 2007

31 May 2007 12:12 am

dots This blog does not try to court controversy but this post will.

I did attempt to stay away from it for a number of reasons, but in the end it was a invitation by the Guru of Web Analytics Mr. Eric Peterson that was simply too hard to resist.

With this post I hope to accomplish the following three goals:

    1) challenge conventional wisdom on what is "Enterprise class"
    2) provide a specific compelling alternative point of view for the year 2007 and the world of web 2.0 that is redefining everything and
    3) provide a specific and guaranteed path to success for any "Enterprise" when it comes to selecting the right tool.

Before I go on, and given the importance of this post, I'll quote two lines from this blog's disclaimers & disclosures page: "The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my Clients or Partners." "My thoughts and opinions change from time to time. . . . I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind ."

I request the latter of you, atleast until you have read through the end of this post.

There have been some vibrations in the matrix recently about Enterprise worthiness of tools, Google Analytics specifically. Analysts have chimed in, as have Gurus and friends. Each with their own motives, some very questionable and some genuinely helpful.

But one thing that no one has done in this discussion, or the other ones, is define what an Enterprise is. And another important question: who gets to decide what an Enterprise is? Eric Phillips? Judah Mui? Philip Peterson? Me? God?

What is a enterprise? It is or or or Is it Is it this:

star trek enterprise

Who gets to decide that does not need Advanced Segmentation and that does? Does that person also get the right to pontificate on behalf of all "Enterprises" in the world?

Tough questions, worth exploring.

We are all claiming to evaluate tools against this ephemeral entity, "enterprise", yet (a highly recommended one person business) is as much an Enterprise as General Electric. If the web has taught us one thing then it is that it is the great equalizer.

I'll try not to hide behind the term Enterprise.

Definition of an "Enterprise Class" vendor :

1) The Vendor has been around for more than 18 months, the longer the duration the better but beyond 18 months you the client decide what you are comfortable with.

2) The Vendor can scale its ASP infrastructure (or in house software solution) to A] capture the number of page views required by the client and B] process that data on a nightly basis.

{I am biased, I believe that most people don't need real-time data even if they think they do. Here's a check-list to figure out if you really need real time data: Is Real-Time Really Relevant?}

3) They have a support infrastructure to assist the client in need at reasonable price. If you are willing to pay for support, you should have to pay a reasonable price and expect solid support from the Vendor or their Partners.

That's it. Nothing else matters. You need to know it has been around and that it'll be there. No other golden rules.

Everything else that we, outsiders, impose on "Enterprises" they need to decide for themselves.

you have a choice

[maybe not so humble rant ]
The reason most of corporate America is saddled with billions of dollars of sub optimal software is that companies judge tools/vendors on this vague quality called "enterprise class", while completely ignoring what they actually need.
[/maybe not so humble rant ]

"Enterprises" do this most of the time based on opinions of others: "gurus" (you Eric), massively successful rare individuals (you Judah), "analysts", "random bloggers" who have been around for just one year (me).

What they need to do is look deeply within themselves and figure out exactly what they need and then go get it. If that is ClickTracks then get that. If it is Unica's NetInsight for you then go get that.

There is no default answer that you ("Enterprise" or "Little Guy") need Visual Sciences / Omniture / WebTrends / Microsoft Gatineau. Or that ClickTracks / Omniture / NetInsight / WebTrends is not right for you.

Some personal illustrative stories:

  • A recent client of mine did not need to spend $1.4 million on the most expensive web analytics tool money can buy. They spent that much money in under two years and moved their web analytics six steps forward (against the expectation that they would have moved six thousand steps forward for that much investment).
  • Another client implemented a in house solution for $50k and moved their "enterprise" light years ahead by following the 10/90 rule.
  • This past week I recommended Visual Site to a rapidly exploding 30 people company here in the Silicon Valley. They can't afford Visual Site but I strongly recommended that they try to find the money because 1) they need deep analysis 2) they have the massive brain power required to actually use the tool and 3) they can take action fast.
  • A peer of mine has implemented WebTrends 8 because their plan is to bring all Search Engine spend in-house and are excited about what WebTrends Dynamic Search does.
  • At the emetrics summit Cnet shared that they have eleven web analytics / business intelligence applications (off the shelf and built in house) serving the needs of their internal company users. Does this mean Cnet, a all web business, finds Omniture, their website analytics package, to be deficient and not Enterprise class? Most clearly the answer is No.
  • A company, "enterprise class" :), I am advising is simply skipping the web analytics thing after a few years of trying and is moving to Touch Clarity. The organization is so stymied by its own structure and mindset that rather than them being able to get smart enough and react to customers quickly they are going to outsource the getting smart and reacting fast part.
  • Would a company that has all these clients be considered "Enterprise Class"?

    ct clients 1

    Most "analysts" / opinion makers don't consider this web analytics company to be "enterprise class". But perhaps they should (just look at the companies there). And you as well.

Each unto its own.


  1. "Enterprise Class" need to be defined, and not just defined but all of us who ever use the term to sell stuff (Analysts, Vendors, Thought Leaders) need to explain it. See my definition above.

  2. Each company is unique. Yes, you are unique and special and weird.

    Just because uses something does not mean that you should. Identify a vendor that meets the above three criteria (essentially that they won't die on you) and then decide for yourself what the right tool is for you. Here are two 100% free advice posts that will help you choose the right tool for for your company, guaranteed:

    * Web Analytics Tool Selection: Three Questions to ask Yourself
           # 1: Do you want reporting or analysis
           # 2: Do you have IT strength or Business strength? Or Both
           # 3: Are you solving for the Trinity or Clickstream reporting / analysis?

    * Web Analytics Tool Selection: 10 Questions to ask Vendors
           # : Please see the post

  3. In the end people matter, tools don't. 10/90 rules! Smart people with crappy tools can move mountains, without smart people even the most expensive and expansive tools can't help a company move beyond measuring Visits.

    Reed Business Interactive is not successful in its analytics strategy because it uses a Enterprise class web analytics tool. It is successful purely because it has someone really smart who has figured out how to tame the web data collection beast and then create a effective business intelligence environment (data warehouse and BI tools and everything) to meet the analytics needs. I suspect he might have been able to do it with most tools (not all, most). Alternatively if he walks out, god forbid, none of the tool's Enterpriseness will matter, R B I will hurt.

Determine who you are (systems, organization structures, cultural mindsets). Don't pay to figure that out. Buy what you determine is enterprise worthy for your enterprise of any size.

Ok I have said my piece, now you say yours.

Please use the comments form below and extend the conversation. What's your real world experience? Does any of the above ring true? Am I completely off base and in la la land? Are you going to unsubscribe from my blog's RSS feed? All points of view are welcome and appreciated.

PS: Notice that I have not mentioned Google Analytics, and if it is this or that. That distracts from the important conversation. If its right for you, its right for you. If its not right for you, its not right for you.

Google bashing can be counted on for getting more page views to blogs / websites, it can be used to sell expensive "Analyst" reports (though sadly that strategy has the unintended consequences relating to perceived neutrality, of what potentially might be a nice report). In the end you the customer are in charge, look beyond the "talking heads" (me, others) and make a intelligent choice.

PPS: This has been a serious post, here's my attempt at some levity: Each of this is a "tool" would you choose the most complex or the best fit for your mission?

Is this "enterprise class" for your enterprise success?

enterprise class warship

Or is this "enterprise class" for you:


Bonus reading material from my favourite blogger in the world:

29 May 2007 12:18 am

bushel Another wonderful Emetrics summit is behind us, I want to thank Matthew Finlay and Jim Sterne for inviting me to be a part of it.

This instance of the summit was just as interesting outside the sessions as it was sitting in the sessions. New and old friends, peer bloggers, industry greats, folks who read this blog more than I do :), it was nice to meet them all. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations, thank you all for making the time.

I continue to be astounded by the progress that keeps getting made in our industry, new stuff all around us all the time. Does that not sound like fun? It really is.

In this post I wanted to share reflections / insights / concepts that stood out for me.

Who? Kristen Findley, Ameriprise Financial Services
What? My Reporting Toolkit: Little less toolkit, little more crib sheet.
Why? Deliberate Your Data.

delibrate your data

I loved Kristen's presentation because of its sheer simplicity and brilliance. Each and every one of us deals with lots of reporting needs, regardless of if we like it or not. This presentation covered three concepts: 1) Can you repeat the question? 2) Deliberate your data. 3) Before you click the send button.

In the slide above Kristen gives us advice that only a real world practitioner could. So before you send out that fresh batch of twenty two tab spreadsheet please refer the wisdom in the slide above to make things easier for the consumers of your data.

In the rush of our jobs we forget this practical advice, which if followed in its entirety can make a key difference between consumption and auto-delete. For example: Adding a summary on the first tab of your spreadsheet it not just helpful in sharing key insights quickly but it also communicates to your users that you have done more than reporting and are not just sending data over but sending information to take action. Cool ain't it?


Who? Jodi McDermott, InPhonic.
What? Creative and Landing Page Optimization,
Why? Digging Into The Data.

Jodi had a great presentation on optimization but one things stuck out for me: That sometimes we should not declare victory or failure simply based on our web data. She shares a case study towards the end of her presentation where two creatives with different offers were run (50-50) for the BlackBerry Perl and Motorola Razr. Analysis of the test showed that the Perl was getting more clicks but the Razr converted better. Victory for the Razr? Not so fast…..

digging into the data 1

InPhonic undertook the extra step of matching up the online data with their offline data that showed that both call volume and orders for the Perl had increased via their phone channel. Turns out that the website was not answering all the questions, but it was effective in driving customers to call where they no only got the questions answered but also ended up buying more! Net net the campaign was declared a success and (below) yielded some excellent merchandizing options on how to promote and sell the Perl on the website.

digging into the data2 2

Due to our own organization structures and missing primary keys (to tie the data) it is not often that we go through this type of a exercise. But as it clear in this case, there is a lot to learn when you attempt to glean learnings from a multi-channel perspective even if you can't tie all the data down to row by row. In this case it was taking to the phone representatives that was the source of true insights!


Who? Tim Hart, J. Paul Getty Trust.
What? Measuring By The Mission: Web Analytics at the J. Paul Getty Trust
Why? Content consumption and throwing a feast.

Tim's presentation had a great title but I have to admit that I also went because I am such a huge fan of the Getty Center in LA. Love tram ride up the hill, love the building and architecture, and oh yes the art is great. You should visit if you get a chance.

From Tim's unique presentation (chock full of well placed relevant art) I wanted to share two wonderful nuggets.

It is tough for a site that does not sell anything, and had a broad initial mission, to measure the value of the site to the company (Trust). Tim's first set of analysis was brilliant, figure out content consumption. On this blog we have discussed using tools like ClickTracks to measure this (Glean Macro Insights, point # 4). Tim's computation was simpler and something anyone can do, and should do.

content vs visit distribution

The blue bar shows the type of content on the site: Education, Research, Collections etc. The red bar shows the percent of Visits to that content.

To put it another way "what are the large chunks of content on the site, what are visitors to our website looking at".

I am sure the insights will scream out at you. 86% of the content was being consumed by 23% of the visitors. For 25% of the visitors were looking at 4% of the content (Research). You can see how this translates into a richer understanding of 1) where the website was focused at that time and 2) what customers actually wanted.

Please consider doing this graph of your website. I promise you it will shock you, it has always surprised me for every site I have done it for.

The second nugget was even more delightful: They they ask for bread and water, answer them with a feast.

answer with a feast

Too often marketers and decision makers ask for reports and stuff that you (the Analyst) in your heart perhaps know adds little value. Don't get disheartened. If they ask for bread, give them a feast.

If they ask for conversion rate, give them segmented conversion rate. If they ask for exits from a page, give them bounce rates and explain why that metric is even more insightful. If they ask for visitors from paid campaigns, add in the number for organic, or better still help them understand cannibalization between paid and organic campaigns. If they ask for HITS, run a survey and give them data for primary purpose and task completion rate of customers.

It is much hard to follow Tim's advice. But if I do then I will not just make sure that I can drive real and meaningful change for my organization but additionally it will help me, I am man enough to admit this, keep my sanity and help move my career forward. It is harder. It is totally worth it.

(I apologize to Tim for taking a small amount of artistic license with his slides, to make them a smidgen more readable in this small size I have made the graph brighter and added a white transparency to the text on the second slide.)


What do you all think? Do you agree with these nuggets of wisdom from Kristen, Jodi and Tim? Would you like to add to the conversation? Do you have feedback on my presentation?

Please share your feedback and critique via comments.

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