Greg is happy and I’d invest (if I could)

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Greg Drew - WebTrends CEOI got a mail this morning from Greg Drew, WebTrends CEO, and he seems happy. I felt like sharing the joy and gratitude for all the good work these guys in Portland and London do for us to make the online channel something that is really starting to count.

Not only did WebTrends sign on Microsoft as a customer back in May, launched V8 – also called Marketing Lab – but also announces today that they’re doing quite well financially.
An extract of the full press release: “I am pleased to announce that in Q2, WebTrends continued to strengthen its financial position and market leadership; increasing profitability and reaching record financial milestones and yearly growth rates that continue to exceed the growth rate of the market. In particular the overall business grew 30 percent year-over-year on a bookings basis and WebTrends On Demand continues to see very strong growth experiencing bookings growth of 78 percent year-over-year. Internationally, WebTrends EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Asia) achieved 108 percent year-over-year growth.“.
Yeap, we’ve been busy also here in Europe and having fun😉

For those who are fimilar with our blog, it’s true that this is mostly René’s issue, as seen from his previous posting regarding Omniture’s IPO. But I couldn’t help but feel reassured and proud about the good work that we’ve been doing the last few months with WebTrends and the choice we made, partnering with such a company.
This post also because there was this interesting question posted by Lars Johansson at the beginning of this month about “which vendor you would invest in” on the Yahoo Web Analytics user group. Unfortunately, no one really replied to the question.

I suppose the reason why people didn’t answer is because it’s not really the focus of the WA Yahoo User group but it actually also should. It’s interesting to review the questions (mainly technical and sometimes more business orientated) that the group users focus around but as we all know the learning curve is so long, looking also at the financial strength of the company chosen will certainly have impact on your companies’ WA strategy as well.

Bets in my head are already open to try to determine which players will be around for the 10 years to come as Web Analytics is expanding and there are some big player that I don’t really see surviving, IPO or VC lead.

I remember the times of Spectra from Allaire, which was really a great product but unstable, complicated and way to expensive for the time. The companies that did choose to go for this top of the notch CMS solution at the time really felt bad when the bubble bursted and the product was abandonned. They are also often the ones today lagging behind because management really felt suckered.
Ok, the situation is not the same but imagine a major company having invested in a WA product, adapted it’s internal processes, integrated the tags, plugged the solution to the CMS, CRM, BI tools to find afterwards well that the product didn’t really evolve according to standards and needs to do it all over again.

It’s a question well worth answering: how financially sane are these companies actually?
With all the predictions around this market announcing that sales will be growing by the millions for the years to come, be sure not to be mislead by all the fancy stuff. We also all know that Wall Street is just a franction of the economy and not specifically a representative one.

I really don’t want to be a party poop and wouldn’t want to be the first to (re)spit out the magical “rational exuberance” words but instead of telling us how many million potential millions the sector is going to make, lead by the Gartners and Jupiters of this world, wouldn’t one PWC, E&Y or any other member of these big 4 or any other independant party, want to dig into the figures and really take the time to figure out whether the long term strategy is sound?

After all, there’s a lot at stake here and the stakes are increasing. I feel the heat mounting up since the beginning of the year. My saffest bet still lies with the Portland and oranje guys.

3 Responses to “Greg is happy and I’d invest (if I could)”

  1. Avinash Kaushik Says:

    Aurélie: What I find fascinating in this discussion is the thoughts around what will it be 10 years from now. I don’t think we can even contemplate. In my own humble opinion the web is changing really really fast and web analytics is still sadly stuck in a bit of a rut. Core innovation that is needed to keep pace with emerging technologies (I admit these emerging technologies are still a niche) is not there, mostly just lip service (and that is independent of any vendor).

    The most critical thing will be a vendor’s ability to think critically and be flexible. There is probably not going to be a separate discipline called web analytics in ten years. Maybe there will be “holistic channel intelligence” for the entire company of which “web” as we know it today is just a small part and what we measure is not “web analytics” but “experience analytics” because the word web will not be relevant.

    Either I am going to be proven a genius or a guy who is really tired on Friday who is not even remotely thinking straight. Chances are higher of the latter. : )

    -Avinash.
    Web Insights Blog @ http://www.kaushik.net/avinash

  2. Lars Says:

    Thanks Aurélie and Avinash.

    Aurélie, Omniture does have a good tool, good organization and good client list. I’d be very surprised if they’d disappear.

  3. Aurélie Pols Says:

    Hi Avinash, Hi Lars, thanks for your posts and comments, feedback is always great.

    Avinash I’ve decided to write a new post to answer your comment, I hope you won’t mind😉

    Lars, don’t get me wrong I never said that Omniture was a bad product (not even René’s in his post about Omniture’s IPO).
    My concern about Omniture is that from what I can see here in Belgium, they need to be very careful today and concentrate their efforts in continuing the R&D, as René said. I’m still not sure about their strategy except that they needed money and did an IPO.

    Another concern I’ve got with Omniture is their sales ‘speech’ which doesn’t seem to be very constructive as they always present themselves against the competition (in the case of Belgium, WebTrends). I wouldn’t have many problems with that as competition remains healthy but as long as they keep comparing their solution with Version 5, I consider it quite lame. If you decide to sell a product ‘attacking’ another product, the least you could do is do your homework…

    Well this is what I’ve been experiencing on the Belgian market regarding Omniture and the fact that they’ve hired someone in France to manage their office who’s got no experience or knowledge whatsoever about Web Analytics isn’t reassuring me either… (I even heard a podcast in which he was speaking about hits…) It might be different in Scandinavia but this is what I have to face everyday in the countries I’m working.

    The thing is also that the essence of the post was related to the fact that a lot of VCs have their pockets full and are looking for ways to invest. Apparently Web Analytics is moving on top of the shopping lists. I wouldn’t want to see an irrational exuberance again with respect to my prefered subject so I’m just saying be carefull and look very carefully at the companies that are in this niche: what they do today, how financially sane they are in order to assure continuous R&D (because we’re not there yet) and a sane long term strategy.

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