WebSideStory will no longer exist. Bob Chatham announced at Emetrics San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, that the nice brand WebSideStory would no longer exist, but don’t be afraid, the company hasn’t closed, it’s just that it changes its name to Visual Sciences, to better reflect the new positioning of the company.
Last year, at Emetrics Washington Bob did already a very interesting presentation explaining the positioning of WSS after VS acquisition: going towards ‘Customer Analytics’. Back then, Bob explained how Web Analytics would enlarge it’s scope from simply Web analytics to Customer Analytics going through Internet Channel Analytics and Multi-Channel Analytics. I remember that this presentation was really inspiring; Aurélie and I were very excited with this new overture in Web Analytics and by Eric’s private demo of Visual Sciences. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Visual Sciences, you may read a couple of posts that Aurélie wrote following Emetrics Washington 2006:
- The Web Analytics product spectrum: from Google Analytics to Visual Sciences
- Visual Sciences’ Promise
Getting back to Bob’s presentation of last week, here are some of the points that got most of my attention:
First of all the analogy of Cubes vs Wheels: Bob explained that very often the limitations that we face are self imposed and he expressed this by the following 2 slides:
He then explained how this was related to Web analytics. According to Bob, most Web Analytics tools have been greatly influenced by legacy systems as BI or DW that work mainly as cubes, this implies a long process in order to bring Insights. According to Visual Sciences, this approach is not flexible enough when you have new questions as very often you need to go through the whole process again.
Opposing this ‘legacy vision’ he presented what he called the data wheels revolution, where the continuing processing lead to a real time analysis capabilities allowing real time analysis of data against any parameter (dimensions, metrics, …). This leads to real time analysis: the user can answer any question by querrying in seconds instead of days as it happened in the former model.
As data is randomly distributed around the wheel, this means that you can query part of this data and enlarge the scope of your analysis without truncation. This is interesting as truncation leads to the non-analysis of the long tail, a concept so present nowadays.
Back to Bob’s analogy, another of his principles is that cubes are not scalable. This happens as adding new dimensions can lead to exponential amounts of data that will be difficult to analyse (remember the former DW projects that took ages to implement and lead often to failure?).
According to Bob Chatham, in the Fortune 500 environment, answering a CXO question may lead to 10 days with ‘cubes’ but a few minutes with ‘wheels’ as you still need to discuss the outcome and the action to be taken 😉
Getting back to the announcement what does it imply and what is our opinion?
- HBX product will continue to exist. Not only that, but it has been enhanced with it’s 4th version as the investment in the HBX platform has been increased. HBX integrates also to Publish, Bid and Search (complementary products of HBX).
- Visual Site allows to go further and really integrate the whole Internet Channel (please note that data collected by HBX can afterwards be analyzed through VS).
- Visual Call & Visual Mail allows to integrate the offline world and propose a multi-channel integration of analysis.
- And for those who want real Customer Analytics Visual Sciences releases its Platform 5
- Visual Sciences solutions may be On demand, Software of both
- Visual Sciences releases new education and certification programs (we’ll keep you posted on this one ;-))
HBX is a great tool for most companies (as others in the market such as WebTrends or Omniture). Visual Sciences Platform 5 is for the moment according to what we have seen the best tool on earth, but unfortunately not all companies are ready for this kind of tool… It’s the Rolls-Royce of Web Analytics but you not only need a good analyst (internal or external) to get the best out of it, your company needs to be what we like to call a ‘data driven company‘ that has integrated accountability and is not afraid of testing and failure. Testing will inevitably lead to some results that won’t be optimal, the important thing is to constructively focus on this from a learning and improving perspective.
From OX2 we consider this to be a great move and I wanted to personnaly congratulate Jim MacIntyre and Bob Chatham for the great work they have done pushing the former WebSideStory from just a Web Analytics player to the new Customer Analytics arena. And I have to admit that I’ve been really impressed by the new marketing (I love the new logo), great work!
Have you attended the presentation, leave us you impressions and comments. You don’t agree with what it has been said? Let us know also as we always welcome constructive criticism (how could we evolve without it?).
And we will keep you posted on other Emetrics Insights 😉
Cheers from Brussels sunny Brussels,