Thursday, July 24, 2008

Review: Semphonic Omniture Toolkit

I have contributed to several web analytics implementations, including SiteCatalyst as well as HBX, Coremetrics, WebTrends and Google Analytics. I was awaiting my copy of the Semphonic Omniture Implementation Toolkit with impatience. It took me a couple of days to realy digest and gather my thoughts around this toolkit which encompass the following topics:

  • Implementation guide

  • Rich Internet Applications: AJAX, Flash and DHTML

  • Coding standards and Best Practices

  • HBX to SiteCatalyst Migration

Furthermore, Phil Kemelor announced today the HBX to SiteCatalyst challenge: submit your most challenging question and you could win a free copy of the toolkit!

It's a toolkit, not a template

As a senior architect I often had to contribute to business requirements, functional specs and implementation guidelines. After a while, writing a new document is a matter of stitching already well written sections, adjusting a couple of words here and there and making slight contextual adaptations. I think the toolkit is exactly that: experience from the field; tips & tricks gathered and structured in a set of documents. However, it's made for people who know what they are talking about, neophytes will likely get lost.

Don't expect a "template" for defining your process, KPIs, dashboards, custom metrics & reports or a special magic recipe to do your implementation. The toolkit should really be viewed as a quicker way to gain the knowledge others have taken months to learn. That's where the value is.

Semphonic Omniture Toolkit vs. Omniture Fusion Playbook

The Semphonic Toolkit covers implementation management, project planning, data collection and implementation, reporting and dashboarding as well as quality assurance considerations. The Fusion Playbook focus much more on what Omniture consider to be best practices. Both angles are important to the success of your implementation.

My take

If you are trying to implement SiteCatalyst by yourself, for the first time, without the help of an experienced consulting firm such as Semphonic, at least get the Implementation Toolkit and the Fusion Playbook. But before that, you should get trained, attend local Web Analytics Wednesdays and go to at least one eMetrics conference... Even then, it won't do any magic, SiteCatalyst an the Omniture business optimization platform are very powerful environments with tons of different ways to leverage their capabilities.
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