Bruce T. Coleman new WebTrends CEO – Some thoughts

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We have seen very interesting things since last eMetrics in Washington in the Web Analytics Industry, as Eric Petersonrecently appointed Director of OX2 declared to ClickZ: “This has been one of the weirder weeks in Web Analytics ever. One of the biggest publicly traded companies gets acquired, and another lets its executives go. Now I’m afraid to wake up tomorrow and find out what else might be going on“.  

So, let’s get back to WebTrends news as some more information has been published online regarding it’s top management changes. 

The first thing that seems clear now is that Greg Drew and the other three VPs were asked to leave by the Board of WebTrends. 

bruce_t_coleman.jpgBruce T. Coleman, who has become the interim CEO, knows WebTrends very well as he was member of the Board since 1998.  So even if he has no experience in Web Analytics operations, my feeling is that he understands very well the sector and he has got some ideas for the future.

Coleman has also extensive experience in running technology companies and thus we can expect some changes in the coming months.  From public declarations of their CMO Tim Kopp:

 “The company has been doing great. We’re driving double-digit growth. But we believe we can continue to do better and the board wanted to make a change to help accelerate growth“. 

So the objective is to increase growth and this seems to be the main reason of the management changes.  This was corroborated by Bruce Coleman who stated:

We need to get more new deals, this is a company that’s growing, but not growing as much as the marketplace. Given the investments, [the owners] want to see more of a return.

john_rodkin.jpgIt’s interesting also to note that 2 persons that entered WebTrends after the acquisition of ClickShift (the company that created Dynamic Search), John Rodkin and Leo Chang will run the product management.  This will bring some fresh ideas to WebTrends products has they have previously succeeded to build a great product (At OX2 we believe that Dynamic Search is the new generation of bid management tools). 

tim_kopp.jpgTim Kopp, former Coca-Cola Global Interactive Marketing VP,  is also a great asset for WebTrends as he has transformed the branding and marketing of WebTrends since he joined in january 2007.

There’s no more news regarding the rumor that WebTrends was in conversations with Omniture to get acquired.  Will that be true?  As Julien pointed in his previous post, this doesn’t make much sense and it wouldn’t have been a good thing for the Industry that Omniture acquired both Visual Sciences and WebTrends as is would have really killed the competition.

nick_sharp.jpgHere in Europe Lars posted that Ian Tickle, WebTrends sales responsible for northern Europe has left the company for Omniture. I don’t think this move is related to the board changes as it couldn’t had happened in such short period of time.  Steve raises some concerns regarding WebTrends staff’s retention and wonders how WebTrends is going  to consolidate in the future.  While it’s clear that talented people in the Web Analytics field are not the easiest thing to find, I’m sure that Nick Sharp will manage this stormy period.  Don’t forget that WebTrends has some great new products and I’m convinced that the Web Analytics industry cannot be a one player game, even if now we all have to recognise that Omniture is leading ahead in this industry. 

Regarding the consolidation, Francisco Partners and Coleman are not searching to sell WebTrends, maybe some other acquisitions will be done in the near future.  Time will tell…

Again as I stressed in a previous post, with the consolidation of the market, even if there’s a lot of potential growth, one of the challenges Web Analytics vendors will have to manage is customer retention.  Keeping your customers happy and helping them to get the best out of your tools!  This is one of the main points we try to do at OX2, I’ve always privileged customer satisfaction over sales and I strongly believe that it pays in the long term.

Before I finish, I just wanted to share with you an anonymous comment that was submitted to Julien’s post. This comment has been posted from Oregon, so I guess that there are many chances that it comes from one WebTrends employee.  Our policy is not to publish anonymous comments as we believe that people should stand upon their ideas.  Nevertheless I thought this one was interesting due to the fact that it probably comes from the inside of WebTrends:

1. we are not sad to see greg go.
2. webtrends is #1 in customer base for web analytics services
3. anyone who bought WT also gets their new data center, customer base, european contacts and IntelProp

As everybody in the industry is saying we are living interesting times.  What do you think about WebTrends future moves?  Don’t hesitate to post your comments or thoughts.

Kind Regards from cloudy Brussels,

René

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