Who's Who in Analytics Today

Forget the phrase "big data." Remove it from your business vocabulary and don't even think about including it in your next round of buzzword bingo.

In the end, it is not about how much data is at your disposal but what you do with it and how it ultimately impacts your digital enterprise, the decisions it makes and the experience created for users.

Savvy Internet professionals know that the value analytics solutions provide are the insights gleaned from digging through all of that big data. Solutions like Google Analytics and Adobe's suite of Web and data analysis tools are certainly the most popular offerings on the market today but they aren't always the easiest to use or the right solution in every scenario. There are, in fact, a wide variety of analytics-related product offerings (both for the Web and for data in general) available to help Web workers create better digital experiences and identify additional monetization opportunities. Let's look at a virtual handful of these Web and data analytics solutions that are changing the game for the modern Internet professional.

Narrative Science recently launched a free application that automatically analyzes and transforms Google Analytics data into natural language reports. The Quill Engage report, which leverages Narrative Science's artificial intelligence engine, easily explains site performance in terminology anyone can understand, enabling a broader cross section of an organization to be equipped with information that supports better decision-making about user engagement and specific marketing efforts. Each Quill Engage report, run either weekly or monthly, includes performance drivers and recommendations and covers key metrics, including content engagement, Web traffic and sources, referrals, paid search and audience segmentation.

The Quill Engage report from Narrative Science provides a natural-language report on key performance metrics and their drivers.

Businesses, however, need more than just surface level insights on their Web performance. Today's most aggressive digital enterprises are looking to gain a competitive advantage by capturing and analyzing event data, including micro-level detail about specific online habits of visitors to a website, in real-time. Business analytics software Looker recently announced a partnership with Snowplow Analytics (an event data collection platform for Web and business applications that stores data in the Amazon Redshift data warehouse) to provide an end-to-end solution for understanding this Web event data, drilling into the data and performing complex analytics that inform business strategy.

"Organizations need access to high-resolution event information so they can better understand the journeys their users are taking, how they're interacting with the site, how their marketing campaigns are performing and how engagement leads to sales," said Frank Bien, CEO of Looker. "Businesses can now implement a joint solution from Looker and Snowplow to collect detailed information and then explore and share the data in innumerable ways. The result, of course, is truly actionable information that streamlines user experience and improves the productivity of websites and applications."

The clamor for real-time data is at times deafening, but the more you know about the past performance of digital marketing campaigns, the better positioned your enterprise is to make the right choices for future initiatives. Getting that information into other software solutions can be a challenge, however. A new reporting feature within Tickr, a product that enables its users to unify and visualize data (enterprise metrics, social media, news, Web traffic, sales) from within a single interface, hopes to eliminate the issue. Its new Open Reporting feature enables customers to aggregate Tickr-archived data into custom reports using their own preferred "off-the-shelf" reporting software including Tableau Software, Adobe PDF Excel, Oracle, SAP and others.

"We believe that the future of enterprise software is openness and flexibility, both of which are key to enabling multi-vendor solutions," said Tim Satterwhite, Vice-President, Sales at Tickr. "Monolithic, single-vendor, enterprise software will soon be a thing of the past. Tickr is capitalizing on this trend to grow its enterprise customer base.

"We believe this is a first in our industry -- no other business intelligence product enables customers to consolidate all types of business intelligence data, archive it, and then report on it, using the reporting tool of their choice."

The trend in the analytics software space has been to make it more universal, more meaningful, faster and deeper. Success with analytics, however, requires that everyone in your enterprise is using the same data - an issue that impacts enterprises small and large. Domo, which provides a platform that aggregates multiple sources of merchant data and provides insights for executive-level decision making, recently announced that eBay and its employees have begun using its solution.

The Domo dashboard providers an opportunity for users to discover, mashup, visualize and present data.

eBay account managers need to understand how their retail/merchant clients are performing in terms of sales and how they can assist in optimization efforts. The problem in the past, however, was that the information eBay managers needed was often difficult to acquire as it resided in multiple systems (and in various formats).

"Before Domo, we were sending out Excel files and links to different places, and we built out a few dashboards, but at the end of the day they weren't dynamic," said Kevin Styers, manager of merchant sales operations at eBay. "It was very one dimensional." After implementing Domo however, the digital life of eBay employees has been made a little easier. "It was much simpler to get disparate data sources into the system than I'd ever imagined," continued Styers. "Now Domo is our one-stop shop when we're looking for any kind of analytical trends. It's been hugely beneficial to our decision-making process."

These are just some of the innovative companies making analytics and the acquisition of meaningful, data-drive insights accessible. There are more, lots more. To stay up to date on the maturation and evolution of the Web and data analytics side of the business, check out Website Magazine's Analytics Insider channel.