Friday, November 16, 2007

WebTrends in the Spotlight…Again!

My inbox buzzed with news alerts on WebTrends at least a dozen times in the last two weeks, but yesterday’s event nearly slipped under the radar.

Tim Kopp, the marketing visionary that WebTrends snatched from Coca-Cola less than a year ago has decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. His departure follows the dismissal of several other key management executives, which begs the question…What’s going on at WebTrends?

My sources at WebTrends informed me that Tim would remain actively involved with the company until the end of the year and that “he’s really quite involved with customer relations on a day-to-day basis”. Despite the recent changes, the company reports that the staff is excited to move forward and that they’ve received great response from customers and prospects on recent initiatives. Expect to see several press releases within the next 30 days announcing new customer wins in media and financial services industries. Additionally, the company reports several key renewals within the retail industry leading up to this year’s online holiday shopping season. Existing tier-one customers such as Kimberly-Clark and Dow Chemical have also recently agreed to conduct new business with WebTrends indicating optimism in their ongoing capabilities.

The internal shake-up in recent weeks is unfortunate for WebTrends because the company was (and perhaps still is) gaining momentum with their ML2 product suite. Their Score product attempts to quantify the elusive and increasingly popular customer engagement metric. They recently announced a partnership with email services provider SilverPop, which leverages WebTrends’ Open Exchange network by automating delivery of targeted emails based on integrated unique user profiles. And they’ve enabled measurement of Microsoft Silverlight to capture analytics within streaming video and other rich Internet applications built with Silverlight.

Despite these promising developments, skeptics may still be wary. I expect that WebTrends won’t have much to say publicly about Tim’s departure and that it will get rolled under the board’s “pursuit of accelerated growth” umbrella.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Analytics University

I was "surfing" (if that exists anymore) the other day and happened to notice that a few bloggers referenced my reports on Analytics University a while back. For the sake of prosperity and the longevity of content, I decided to repost this work that I created in July 2007 while at the Aberdeen Group here on this blog.

The first brief, Analytics University: Part I, discusses the lack of qualified web analysts practicing today. Not that there aren't many brilliant web analysts currently working in the field, it's just that there aren't enough of them. I go on to describe vendor sponsored programs and the industry's self proclaimed academic accreditations such as Coremetrics University, Google’s Conversion University, Omniture University, Visual Science’s former Digital Marketing University. I also cite the work of Analytics Consultants, Blogs and Gurus Sessions.

The sequel, Analytics University: Part II, delves into Community Forums, Industry Associations and real academic programs. The eMetrics Fall event showcased how far the industry has come over a short period of time. With nearly 550 attendees, the conference was a hive of networking, information and excitement around analytics. This excitement is evident in the Web Analytics Forum at Yahoo! Groups as well, where I voluntarily receive a daily email summarizing the dozens of threads and fascinating conversations shared across the globe on an ongoing basis. And finally, the academics are ramping up to educate the next crop of web analysts on both the tactics and fundamentals of analyzing data in an infinitely quantifiable online society.

We are lucky enough to work in an industry that values shared knowledge and distributed information, so there is no shortage of prolific blogs to visit, gurus to talk to, or resources available. 2007 was the year that gurus hit the road: the WAA offered its Base Camp workshops in numerous cities and ZaaZ initiated their Marketing ROI Executive Workshops around the country as well. These endeavors and others like Gary Angel's Web Analytics Exchange, a non-traditional sit down of analytics professionals, spark creativity, shared ideas and plain old goodness throughout the industry. I for one am excited about my job every day and get jazzed about each new shred of news or acquisition that takes place in the market. I’m sure that many of you are there too – that’s what makes this so much fun.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Is WebTrends Next?

As I wrote in my previous postthis will get interesting…apparently sooner than later.

Several key executives from WebTrends were quietly relieved of duty yesterday, including Greg Drew (CEO) and Jason Palmer (VP Product Marketing). A visit to the management page of the WebTrends site this morning shows a new face – Bruce T. Coleman as Chief Executive Officer.

Coleman serves as CEO of El Salto Advisors, an interim executive firm, and held short-term executive posts at Vernier Networks (2004), (2000-2001), Rogue Wave Software (1999 – 2000) and Websense (1998 – 1999) foreshadowing a short stay with WebTrends and a likely sale of the company.

Many eyes will turn to Omniture as a prime suspect to buy WebTrends and dominate the analytics market because of their recent acquisition of Visual Sciences, but that deal is scheduled to complete sometime in mid 2008, so they may have their hands full at the moment. Certainly Coremetrics and Unica are keenly watching the consolidation of their peers, yet a new entrant to the marketplace, (i.e., Content Management Vendor), would create an interesting challenge for the analytics incumbents.