Yesterday I had a journalist calling me to ask my opinion regarding Visual Sciences’ takeover by Omniture. Since becoming a public company, Omniture has been acquiring different companies, but one can wonder: where’s Omniture going
Omniture strategy: Pacman?
We see different types of acquisitions done by Omniture in the past:
- Complementary products to enhance the portfolio of solutions proposed to their clients. This is the case for TouchClarity and Offermatica. One could argue that buying TouchClarity also allowed Omniture to have a better UK presence, but my feeling is that the technology was the first motivation for this acquisition. Other Web analytics players have also done acquisitions of this type as WebTrends with Position Gold and Dynamic Search or WebSideStory with Publish.
- A different type of acquisition made by Omniture is the one represented by that of Instadia. Instadia was a great Danish WA product that got acquired last year and if it wasn’t clear enough at the beginning, it is clear crystal now what the intentions where. Even if the product was interesting, Instadia’s product has been abandoned and clients are being migrated towards Omniture’s SiteCatalyst. The objectives behind this acquisition were to gain presence in the European market through customers and skillful employees that could integrate the rapidly growing European Omniture’s team (Omniture is now one of the vendors with most resources in the European market).
Based on this, where the does Visual Sciences acquisition fall? Well, a bit in between both scenarios. Buying Visual Sciences provides Omniture with clients, great minds and probably the best analytical and data visualization tool out there. See below for more details about Visual Sciences in the Omniture ecosystem.
What about HBX? HBX was already on the ‘go’. VS was little by little trying to upgrade existing clients towards Visual Sciences. My feeling is then that HBX customers will gradually be migrated towards Omniture in the coming 12-24 months. Some other products such as WSS’ bid management tool will also be stopped while a product such as Publish could potentially be kept and pushed further to become a ‘smart’ mid-range CMS that would compete with players such as Hot Banana or Ektron. Our experience having built CMS for over 8 years now, is that delivering a good analytical integration gives a competitive advantage and a way to increase the loyalty of the customers.
Omniture is thus yes acting like Pacman and buying everything he finds around expanding in the Marketing Optimization: A/B Testing with Offermatica, Behavioural Targeting with TouchClarity, What will come next? An adserver? A CMS? Surveying tool?
But let’s get back to the interesting piece: Visual Sciences.
Buying VS brings to Omniture a state of the art technology that maybe was a bit in advance for his time. I recall a discussion in May with Eric, Dennis and Fulton in Zeist during the Dutch Web Analytics Congress, we were discussing that a vendor needed to create an analysis tools that would be independent and could be used with any kind of Web Analytics product. The problem was that analysis and visualization of data. If I were Omniture I would use VS as an analysis tool that could be used on top of Omniture products. As VS is not a product for everybody (let’s face it there are companies out there that implemented VS and now they don’t have the resources to use it properly), it will remain a high end product. But on the other hand VS opens the door towards BI to Omniture.
Now that you have players as Unica entering the WA field, Omniture may decide to strike back and enter the BI and offline campaigning market. VS is a perfect battering ram : any analyst that sees a demo of Visual Sciences dreams about it afterwards. It’s not a product that you can put on a marketers hand, you need an analyst to really use it at its potential. Visual Sciences already processes offline data as call centre data for example. The product should enhance its ability to read and process external data.
The future of Analytics: Data decentralization
We see it more and more, nowadays, companies have more and more data repositories. Every software has some kind of reporting and data available that could potentially be aggregated through an analysis engine.
List of available data driven tools in a typical company nowadays: website, emailing system, call centre, ERPs, warehouse, invoicing, … As you see the possibilities of data analysis integration are enormous, and being able to report so many channels in parallel will transform the company doing it into a really data driven company.
I’m not talking about data warehouses. IMHO data will continue to be decentralized in the future, so we need to think differently when speaking about analytics. An analytical engine (and I’m not only speaking about Web Analytics) should be able to access and process any external data. Being able to correlate data coming from different repositories and thus delivering a holistic analysis of the company’s processes and activities.
Welcome to the future in which accountability will ultimately be reachable and thus decisions will be more efficient and effective.
So what do you think? Anything else that you want to add to the conversation? Feel free to comment.
Disclaimer: OX2 is partner of several WA vendors including Omniture. This is my personal interpretation of the facts and information that are public and non confidential.