IBM unveils Web site analytics services

www.infoworld.com |  Software

IBM THIS WEEK upped its Web site analytics offerings by unveiling three new service classes to provide users with data analysis for site effectiveness, customer retention, and site usability, helping customers better understand user behavior.

The services will enable businesses that do not already have dedicated Web site analytics -- or analysis, equipment, or personnel -- in place to begin analyzing Web sites.

The growing CRM (customer relationship management) push has made Web analytics more important, according to Joel Yaffe, an analyst at Giga Information Group, in Cambridge, Mass.

At the same time, though, analyzing Web data is an arduous task that requires expensive hardware and software, as well as experienced personnel.

"Even large enterprises aren't all that savvy at Web analytics," Yaffe added. "People tend to treat Web analytics differently than traditional business intelligence."

Yaffe continued that traditional BI (business intelligence) typically involves a data warehouse and focuses more on ERP (enterprise resource planning) data.

The Web analytics market is growing at 200 percent annually and is projected to be a $4 billion market in 2004, according to Aberdeen Group, in Boston.

Chasing after a piece of that pie, IBM's services, part of its SurfAid Analytics Business Intelligence unit within IBM Global Services, includes three options. The low-end service is targeted at customers with limited resources that require daily analysis of site traffic. A midrange service is designed for customers who require enhanced functionality and analysis, and the third service is for high-end customers that need to integrate non-Web log transactional data with Web traffic.

"The idea is to evaluate traffic on a Web site to booking and buying behavior," said Brian Tomz, solutions manager for SurfAid at IBM.

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