The announcement of Omniture's acquisition of Visual Sciences has created quite a stir. My advice is "Don't panic, but don't hide your head in the sand." Those of us immersed in web analytics are analysts, so let's analyze the situation.
For Visual Sciences clients, issues include moving to a new analytics platform with similar yet different features and capabilities, a different contract, different performance and a different support structure. While Omniture clients may assume that this won't affect them, they could be wrong. Omniture may be distracted by the effort to digest the Visual Sciences acquisition and performance and support may suffer. To aid the migration of Visual Sciences clients it may add features such as the HBX Report Builder which would be a very nice improvement.
With a larger customer base, Omniture may change its pricing structure. As Phil Kemelor points out in his Blog, Omniture's digestion of Visual Sciences is going to take some time and take some unexpected turns. (Omniture's digestion of Instadia's 200 clients is projected to take 18 months - how long will it take to digest Visual Sciences 2,000 clients).
Take advantage of the time it's going to take and take charge of your own fate - this advice is for both Visual Sciences and Omniture clients. What should you do?
- Make sure your analytic house is in order (both Visual Sciences and Omniture clients);
- Determine when and under what circumstances you want to migrate (Visual Sciences clients);
- Keep abreast of changes in web analytics platforms, both technical and contractual (both Visual Sciences and Omniture clients).
#1 Make Sure Your Analytic House Is In Order
- Using a structured perspective on your web metrics (business objectives to web KPIs to supporting statistics to application implementation) make sure that you are getting the information you need and you understand how your measurement application (Visual Sciences or Omniture) is providing that information;
- Make sure you have meaningful standards and conventions for your web measurement. If you don't have any or if they are inadequate initiate an effort to remedy that;
- Make sure that data collection is separated from data reporting and analysis. For example, if you are using an Excel interface, make sure that calculations and formatting for reporting and analysis are done in different worksheets than data collection.
#2 Determine When and Under What Circumstances You Want to Migrate
You got plenty of time, so take advantage of it and migrate when it makes sense for you. For example, if you are going from an HTML based web site to a Flash based web site, you are going to have to change your tagging for Flash whether you migrate or not so why not do the migration in conjunction with the move to Flash. If you don't have good web metrics standards and conventions, establish them and do their implementation as part of the migration. If you're not moving to a new web technology, don't need to improve your measurement standards and conventions, and don't need any new features, wait. "If it works, don't fix it." If you do migrate, consider out sourcing the migration, as it is not an expertise that you will need on an ongoing basis.
# 3 Keep Abreast of Changes in Web Analytics Platforms, Both Technical and Contractual.
Wait, watch, and listen. Monitor Omniture's digestion process of Visual Sciences for technical and contractual issues. Get your information not just from Omniture, but also from clients, analysts, and consultants. Also, keep abreast if what other vendors such as WebTrends are doing.
When migration makes sense for you -- technical, contractual, or support reasons -- make sure you know what you have, what you want and how your going to get there. Thus armed, migration may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. For Omniture clients, this may be a period of "interesting times" with lots of changes. Make sure you're set-up to take advantage of new features. Speak-up if performance or support suffers. Keep Omniture "honest" by monitoring industry developments.
You use your analytic skills to optimize your web site. Use them to optimize the Omniture acquisition of Visual Sciences for you.