Twenty summers in San Francisco have made me accustomed to this strange, bi-polar season – a season where chill can swamp warmth at any moment and then, just as suddenly, retreat. And though summer is traditionally the slow season, in good San Francisco fashion it doesn’t seem to have slowed much in our corner of the world.
We’re starting to really build toward X Change – with most of the Huddle Leaders and topics decided. That’s always exciting and there are some cool topics on the board – stuff that I can’t wait to talk about and listen to. I’m going to do a whole series of “short” (by my standards anyway) posts on some of the topics!
Naturally, the Coremetrics acquisition was big news. Traditionally, Semphonic hasn’t been a huge Coremetrics shop. We do more Omniture, Unica, and WebTrends than Core. But that’s been changing a bit in 2010 as we’ve added some major retail and hospitality clients that run Coremetrics. So the IBM purchase actually meant something to us. I’ve seen the pros and cons of this acquisition argued– but it’s a bit like rating NBA draft picks the minute after the draft. Nobody really knows how it’s going to turn out but we all have an opinion we pretend to be sure of. So here’s mine.
The simple truth is that most acquisitions fail. And I think it’s particularly dangerous to be acquired by a giant like IBM. You can all too easily get swallowed, lost in digestion, processed into blandness, and left stinking on the ground without ever having the slightest effect on the monster that ate you.
So it’s not unreasonable or unduly pessimistic to be skeptical.
On the other hand, I think IBM is a natural home for Coremetrics.
First, I don’t think Core could continue to flourish on their own. It’s hard to compete with Adobe; harder to compete with Google. Second, IBM has built up an impressive suite of analytics tools – arguably the best analytics oriented suite in the world. So Coremetrics is a natural complement and becomes part of a stable of products that delivers powerful solutions across the whole enterprise business intelligence front. These products aren’t going to be easy to integrate – but even without deep integration having a single vendor across the BI spectrum is pretty attractive. Third, there’s a strong history and relationship between the two companies so I’m guessing they know each other pretty well and share a level of comfort. Fourth, IBM is a true enterprise company. One of the things that made the Adobe acquisition so surprising is that a company whose focus is largely on individual and SMB mass-market products acquired a company whose focus was entirely large enterprise. No such issues here – IBM’s sales team, support team and professional services are a natural fit for an enterprise technology company like Coremetrics.
So I think the acquisition makes perfect sense. It has all the risks attendant to such things but at least the benefits, fit and direction are obvious and potentially substantial. If I was a Coremetrics client I’d be worried a little bit and happy a little bit more.
On the home front, I have some pretty interesting webinars coming up: one with Tom Kuhr of Truviso and one I’ll be doing on my own to introduce a new Semphonic consulting product offering. Yes, this second webinar is just sales, but I think it’s still pretty cool stuff and I’ll explain why below.
The first of these is “Effective Online Audience Segmentation Techniques.” The basic idea is simple. Tom’s been working on developing Truviso’s VIA product and he and I have been talking quite a bit about what it takes to do effective visitor segmentation in the online world. So we decided to take that conversation and turn it into a webinar. I’ll be presenting a framework for visitor segmentation that shows the different dimensions that drive segmentation and how each adds something to our knowledge about our visitors. Tom and I will discuss the challenges of getting at each dimension in a tool. Together, we’ll show some examples of how they’ve approached the problem – and kick around what turned out to be easy and what was hard but worth it. Should be pretty good stuff and you can join us at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/659550400
My next webinar is a little further out and it’s a bit different. The truth is that while I’ve done many, many webinars in the past few years (I don’t even get all that nervous anymore) almost none of them have really been about Semphonic product offerings. But we’ve developed a new consulting service offering that I’m 1) tremendously excited about; 2) think is fundamental to our practice; and 3) think is interesting on its own.
By far the common lament I hear when I talk to people is that they or their company are stuck doing ad hoc reporting and aren’t really doing analysis with their powerful, enterprise web analytics tools.
Sound familiar? I call this inability to move beyond ad hoc reporting the “analysis barrier.”
In thinking about the problem, I realized that while we at Semphonic do lots and lots of analysis, we tend to sell it piecemeal to our clients. People hire us to do a single analysis. Even our long-term retained clients are mostly directing the analytics work. As they hear about or think about problems, they ask us to take a look. But over the last ten-plus years of doing analysis, we’ve developed a substantial set of more than 20 common analytics projects that regularly deliver excellent results and address a whole range of common online business problems.
So we’ve created an Advanced Analytics Program – a retained service that begins with an Analytic Roadmap and then rolls into an ongoing series of deep-dive analysis projects most of which are driven by our library of proven methods and techniques. It’s our first real effort to put together a comprehensive analysis program for companies and package it as an ongoing service offering. And I think it’s going to be a great program for helping all of our clients – not just the best ones - shatter, once and for all, the “analysis barrier.”
I decided to record a presentation I’ve been giving on it for our website, and when Wes and I kicked the idea around we decided we might as well make it a webinar. So be forewarned – this is a sales presentation. On the other hand, it’s not without plenty of real content – perhaps more content than some people’s content presentations. So if you’re interested in the product offering or just want to see how we’re approaching the development of a comprehensive analysis program, check it out: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/771248873