Recently, Dennis R. Mortensen, COO of IndexTools, shared with OX2 a sneak preview of Rubix 1, which is part of their new marketing optimization framework, and we were so impressed that we wanted to share with you (with Dennis’s permission) a little bit of what we learned.
Aurelie Pols, Julien Coquet, and I (“Wandering” Dave Rhee) all agree that one of IndexTools strong points is that, unlike the American market leaders, they do not feel compelled to re-invent everything with new terminology, and pretend that it is new. Instead, they quite happily take the best of every tool already available, listen closely to their customers about what their most important features are, and then focus on developing only the most valuable items to the business user.
For example, Jim Sterne and the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits have influenced everyone to think about web analytics as one part of a larger marketing optimization program. Our friends at Omniture have made clear their partnerships with other firms, and acquired many other players to be able to offer a wide spectrum of complementary products and services.
IndexTools (IT) continues this trend by branching out from their basic web analytics offering, comparable to Omniture’s SiteCatalyst. (The primary difference is that IT includes their data warehousing functionality for free, while Omniture offers their data warehouse as a separately-priced product.) IndexTools also includes their integration platform (which without any fuzz is called “External Data Sources”) in the base costs, while using Omniture’s Genesis platform typically incurs additional integration charges.
Rubix 1 is part of the marketing optimization framework we were shown, and once they iron out the little quirks common to any beta release, we’re sure it will be compared with Visual Sciences interface, as well as Omniture’s Discover 2.0 tool. What this means for users is that some fairly sophisticated segmentation can be done on the fly, without having to submit a batch query and view your results later. That is, segmentation across multiple dimensions is very easy to specify and to visualize, and users of Excel pivot tables and associated charting capabilities will be impressed by Rubix’s relative ease of use. Drilling down by clicking on chart objects is supported in an intuitive manner, and a choice of graphics tools to represent additional dimensions (e.g., bubble charts) is also available. Custom metrics (such as defining your own KPI ratios) are also supported via a wizard functionality.
Because they are using Flash as an application, screen refresh times are minimized, and the graphic objects are redisplayed very quickly. While this may all sound standard (and indeed, in a few years, it will be the minimum barrier for entry into marketing optimization), seeing such a well-designed product with this much power still gets us excited about its potential.
Rubix will support data input from external sources, and allow you to visualize this external data integrated with your web analytics data. This is something we’ll want to investigate further, with very large data sources, to see if it is as robust as we hope it will be. If so, this may be a very powerful competitive advantage, given the huge fees usually associated with some competitors’ data import offerings.
Beyond the standard metrics reporting, Rubix allows the creation of customized business flow reports can track funnel conversion and fallout, path analysis, and other multi-page measures of online customer behavior.
Of course, some of our excitement comes because competitor tools, while powerful indeed, suffer from poor user interfaces, or complex menus or vocabulary that are anything but intuitive to the casual user. IndexTools supports all the expected features, such as standard templates that can be customized and bookmarked, as well as reports that can be created from scratch. The desktop workspace seems intuitive and easy to use, so marketing managers who don’t use an analytics tool daily can still be productive without a huge investment of time to train and re-train.
Pricing is sure to be very competitive, even more so when you consider that bid management tools are also included. (Their Retrieval Edition includes data imports, and their Pro Edition will keep all the data in a central location with opportunities to apply bidding strategies. Priced as a percentage of ad spend are likely to be somewhat lower than the equivalent fees for other bid management tools, with the Retrieval Edition significantly less expensive than even the competitively-priced Pro Edition.)
Beyond these features, we’re told to expect a data modeling tool suitable for advanced web data analysts (but not necessarily marketing or IT department analysts) to be launched in February. Multivariate testing and behavioral targeting products are also on the way, and we’re anxious to see if these maintain the high product quality and usability we’ve come to expect from IndexTools. We’d like to see how the APIs get implemented, and note that based on needs expressed by some of our own clients, SOAP, data links to Excel, and support for ftp bulk data transfers would all be welcome.
For another take on Rubix, you can view Steve Jackson’s post with his thoughts.
Once again, our thanks to Dennis R. Mortensen, COO of IndexTools, for sharing with us a glimpse of the new Rubix product, which we look forward to working with. Exciting potential such as this makes OX2 proud to be an IndexTools Strategic Alliance Partner, and glad that we have invested in a number of our key web analytics team becoming IndexTools Certified Professional Analysts.